The 2015 NFL Draft continues on Saturday with Rounds 4-7. In Round four, the Baltimore Ravens have three picks, 122, 125 and 136. For their 122nd-pick, they have selected defensive end Za’Darius Smith in the 2015 NFL Draft, according to the teams’ website.
Smith was a reshirted freshman in 2011 and played college football at East Mississippi for two years before transferring to Kentucky in 2013. In his first year at Kentucky as a junior, he started all 12 games as defensive end and recorded 59 tackles and six sacks. As a senior, he recorded 60 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
Baltimore wanted another pass rusher to replace Pernell McPhee. At 6’6″, 260 pounds, this outside linebacker has good body strength, especially at the point of attack. Smith has visited Baltimore and spoke about how admired McPhee was.
“I really think I can follow his footsteps and become more like him,” Smith said. “He just signed a new contract and this team right here is replacing him with a guy like Pernell McPhee. I can tell you this man, a lot of people are going to be hearing from Za’Darius Smith as a Baltimore Raven. I can tell you this, I’m going to follow in his footsteps. I’m going to do the best thing and be the best pass rusher and best run stopper I can.”
He played 4-3 defense at Kentucky and would have to transition to 3-4 defense with the Ravens. He played 3-4 at junior college so the transition should not be difficult.
Smith will be behind starters Suggs and Dumervil on the depth chart but might get some starting time later in the season.