The first day of the NFL Combine did not disappoint, with defensive tackles and defensive ends running astonishingly quick 40-yard sprints. Nobody stood out more than Georgia DE Nolan Smith.
Smith did an official 40-yard sprint in 4.39 seconds, the second-fastest time by a defensive end since 2003. Only Smith and Amare Barno (2022) have ever run the position in sub 4.40 seconds.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t enough for Smith. After he was unofficially timed at 4.44 seconds, he flung his phone in fury and informed NFL Network that he was shooting for the 4.3 range. Smith is probably pleased with his new phone number.
Georgia teammates reacted more appropriately, rejoicing as though they had just won another national title.
The NFL Network was able to highlight Smith’s exceptional speed by superimposing his 40-yard sprint over the combine runs of Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins. Smith makes the two all-pro receivers appear sluggish in contrast.
Smith, though, did not stop at the 40-yard sprint. His 1.52-yard split broke an NFL Combine record for an edge rusher, and his 41.5-inch vertical leap was 3.5 inches higher than the next highest performance on Thursday.
Smith stood just 6-foot-2 at the combine. In contrast, 6-foot-5 defensive end Lukas Van Ness recorded a 31-inch vertical leap, which was almost 10 inches less than Smith’s.
Smith hasn’t even played a down since suffering a season-ending pectoral injury in October. Georgia’s ability to win a championship without his extraordinary agility speaks to how stacked the Bulldogs’ roster was.
Smith started the 2022 season as a consensus first-round pick, but his value dropped following the injury and Georgia’s poor sack productivity. On his most recent big board, SN’s Vinnie Iyer ranked Smith as the draft’s No. 48 overall prospect.
Smith’s remarkable athleticism in Indianapolis might catapult him back into the first round.
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