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Seahawks Draft Profile: Brandon Smith

You can't teach speed, and Penn State linebacker Brandon Smith plays with a lot of it. While he has a lot of room to grow from a technical standpoint, the 21-year old's athletic upside should grab the Seahawks' attention.

With the 2022 NFL Draft set to kick off in Las Vegas on Thursday, April 28, the Seahawks will have a chance to kickstart a new era for the franchise with eight selections, including a top-10 pick and four picks total in the first three rounds.

Over the next month leading up to draft weekend, the AllSeahawks writing staff will dish out in-depth profiles on numerous prospects who could be targets on Seattle's big board.

Next up in the series is Penn State's Brandon Smith—one of the top testing linebackers at this year's combine, who possesses a skillset that should land him on the Seahawks' radar.


A two-year starter for the Nittany Lions, Smith enters the draft after a brilliant junior season in which he recorded 81 combined tackles—9.0 for a loss—and 2.0 sacks. That, along with his five pass deflections and one forced fumble, earned him third-team All-Big Ten honors. At the combine, the 21-year old's 40-yard dash time of 4.52 seconds ranked in the 91st percentile among linebackers, while his 128-inch broad jump and 38-inch vertical jump ranked in the 94th and 86th percentiles, respectively. 


Smith's near-elite athleticism does, indeed, show up on tape. He's a fluid mover on the turf and gets sideline-to-sideline in a hurry. But it doesn't just help him track down incoming ball-carriers; in coverage, he uses his hands well and is more than capable of going step-for-step with tight ends, running backs and even some receivers. 

Deployed in a variety of ways, Smith is at his best in space. That's where he can let his speed shine the most, whether it's blitzing at a wide angle or sitting in his zone. He has good situational awareness and reaction time to sniff out the ball and limit damage to a minimum.

Smith has the length and physicality necessary to win matchups against opposing blockers. He's one of the more well-built linebackers in this year's class, measuring in at 6-foot-31/2, 250 pounds with 345/8-inch arms and 101/4-inch hands.


Physically speaking, Smith is a dream come true at linebacker. But from a technical standpoint, he lacks consistency with some of the fundamentals, which has driven his stock down toward late day two/early day three status. 

Specifically, while he plays with a "bat out of hell" attitude, he can get a bit overzealous at times and flat-out whiffs on tackle attempts. He'll need to become more sound in that department, focusing on his ability to wrap-up rather than "hit stick" whenever he approaches a ball-carrier. Although that can create for some fun, violent highlights, it can also lead to some awful misses that will get him chewed out at the next level.

Though he has the tools to succeed, Smith struggles to properly use them at the line of scrimmage. Too often on tape was he swallowed by a block/moved off his spot when he shouldn't have been. He can get a bit awkward in his setup and tends to put his body in disadvantageous situations, which brings up some concerns about him potentially hurting himself. But it's not like he's wholly incapable of winning in such scenarios; he just has to develop a more repeatable approach that's conducive to working his way through blocks and staying clean in the process.

Fit in Seattle

Thankfully, Smith's biggest warts should be fixable; and the Seahawks have an experienced linebackers coach in John Glenn who should be able to get the Penn State product on the right track. Right now, he's a big ball of clay for a team to mold—and an exciting one at that.

While he may not get a chance to crack Seattle's starting lineup right out of the gate, perhaps some time in a rotational or pure reserve role would do him wonders in working on his technique. So by 2023, if Cody Barton either doesn't pan out or winds up heading elsewhere, Smith could team up with Jordyn Brooks to form one of the fastest linebacker duos in the NFL. And even with Barton around, Smith has the ability to play all three spots and could get some work in at SAM. 

In the meantime, Smith's burst and aggressiveness would be an excellent addition to an already strong special teams unit.

Previous Seahawks NFL Draft Profiles

Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina | Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa | Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State | Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU | Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati | Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA | Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State | Trevor Penning, T, Northern Iowa | Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan | Abraham Lucas, T, Washington State | Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State | Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota | Kingsley Enagbare, DE, South Carolina | Cade Otton, TE, Washington | Rasheed Walker, T, Penn State