Even though a hip injury ended Missouri defensive end Brian Smith’s collegiate career on October 21, the former Tiger was still selected in the 2007 NFL Draft.
The Jacksonville Jaguars took Smith in the fourth round, 107th overall. On ESPN’s draft coverage Smith was listed as a linebacker, but Smith was already listed on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Web site as a defensive end.
A switch to linebacker would most likely be necessitated by Smith’s size. At nearly 240 pounds, Smith isn’t big enough to be a full-time defensive end in the NFL, but could be used as a defensive end for situational pass rushing.
Smith said in a conference call that he expected to be rushing the passer for the Jaguars.
“I think as a pass rusher, and that is what I would rather do,” Smith said. “That is what I have a passion for doing, rushing the passer. They like my get off. That is what they were telling me. I wouldn’t mind that at all, just going in there being a pass rusher,” Smith said. “I would love to stay on the field as much as possible. I’m a designated pass rusher for now, and I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”
Smith holds the Missouri career record for sacks with 31.5, even though he missed the last six games of his senior season with the hip injury he suffered against Kansas State. Because of his rehab, Smith wasn’t able to run the 40-yard dash or participate in any drills before the draft, but said he did run the 40 in 4.65 seconds as a junior.
“Right now I am ready to go,” Smith said. “It has been almost five months now since that injury.
I have been rehabbing every day since then. I am just ready to go out and show everybody what I can do.”
Many people thought the broken hip Smith suffered against Kansas State was going harshly affect his draft status. Smith wasn’t listed on NFL.com as a draft prospect and wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, even though teammate Xzavie Jackson, the other starting defensive end for the Tigers in 2006, was.
But Smith didn’t have to wait too long on Sunday to hear his name called on draft weekend.
“With the hip injury, I was hoping third round,” Smith said. “Fourth is OK for me. This is right around where I wanted to go.”
Jackson was not selected in the seven-round draft which ended Sunday afternoon.