Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith was taken by the Philadelphia Eagles with the No. 30 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Smith joins a growing list of former UGA defensive players in Philly, with Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean being selected last season and Jalen Carter being selected earlier in the night.
Fresh off helping Georgia secure back-to-back championships, outside linebacker Nolan Smith has departed for the 2023 NFL Draft. The defensive standout projects as an early round selection.
Once the top-ranked recruit coming out of high school, Smith saw immediate action upon arrival in Athens. He played in 11 games as a freshman and 10 more as a sophomore before moving into a starting role during his junior year. That proved to be the breakthrough season for both him and the program with Smith recording eight tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks as the Bulldogs secured their first national title since 1980. Smith delivered a stellar follow-up campaign, registering seven tackles for loss and three sacks as Georgia went undefeated.
Nolan Smith: Scouting Report
Though undersized for a 3-4 outside linebacker at 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds, Smith has genuinely rare athletic traits. Relative Athletic Score places him with a 9.24 composite out of 10 thanks to remarkable times in the 40-yard dash (4.39 seconds), vertical leap (41.5 inches), and broad jump (10-foot-8). Though his stature will make him a difficult projection for some teams, other talent evaluators will see a position-fluid defender who can rush the passer as well chase down ball carriers in all areas of the field.
Mock Draft Landing Spots
According to the NFL Mock Draft Database, Smith looks likely to come off the board on Day 1. He currently ranks as the 18th overall prospect on the consensus big board and regularly features in the middle of Round 1 in mocks. The Athletic recently projected Smith to the Houston Texans with the No. 12 overall pick. Matt Miller’s recent ESPN mock draft has him going with the No. 8 overall pick to the Falcons. Ryan Wilson’s CBS Sports mock draft from last weekend has him going 30th overall to the Eagles.