However, he's a tight, limited athlete who looks stiff through his hips and really struggled when asked to break down in space and come up with a tackle. Lacks range and consistently sees his angles outpaced on perimeter runs. Doesn't exhibit much in the way of range in the pass game either. Looks stiff in his drop and although he is a balanced defender who does a nice job keeping his eyes in the backfield, lacks the kind of athleticism needed to make plays on the football at the next level.
Impression: He offers some toughness inside, but he isn't overly physical to a point where it outweighs his lack of athleticism and makes him a legit MLB prospect."
Positive: Aggressive, run defending safety best in the box. Remains disciplined with assignments, quickly locates the ball, and wraps up when tackling. Displays the ability to hold his ground against blocks and is terrific against the run.
Negative: At his best moving straight-ahead and lacks the quick change of direction or speed to the sidelines. Struggles in coverage. Marginal skill in pursuit.
Analysis: Smith has been a productive defender for Syracuse but is a limited athlete with marginal size/speed numbers. Projects as a two-down defender and possibly a backup on the inside in a 34 alignment at the next level."
Negatives: Can add some bulk to his frame, a little on the thin side... Not especially strong for an inside linebacker, could stand to hit the weight room and add some muscle mass... Is overaggressive at times, will get caught out of position and be fooled by misdirection plays... Is still a very raw player, will need some transition time learn the position at the next level... Is just marginal in coverage, instincts are a bit of a question mark at this point... Does not have a lot of range, not a sideline-to-sideline defender at this point... Will overrun plays, change-of-direction skills are not quite where they need to be."
He redshirted in 2006 at Syracuse, but in 2007, Derrell was one of 34 players to see game action in ever game. He carried the ball 10 times for 21 yards, and also caught 2 passes.
In 2008, he started all 12 games at OLB and… ranked 13th in the Big East in tackles per game (6.1) while tallying 72 total tackles.
In 2009, he tallied 81 tackles and was named All-Big East 2nd-Team. His four forced fumbles tied for fourth on the SU single-season record list. He also ranked fifth in the BIG EAST with 8.1 tackles per game and sixth with .65 sacks per game. Derrell missed the final two games of the season due to injury.
In 2010, he notched 114 total tackles, 9 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, an interception, a PBU, 2 QBHs, 3 FRs and 3 FFs. He was also on the watch list for most major national defensive awards entering the 2010 season.
Strengths: Smart, on and off the field. Active and tireless pursuer. Gives 100% every down. Loves contact and explodes into blockers. Fluid chaser who sets up offensive linemen and easily beats them with efficiency. Sure tackler. Good closer when rushing the passer. Big play type who will make a key forced fumble or an interception to turn the tide in a game. Sniffs out counters and knifes to the tackle. Solid build. Speed to go sideline-to-sideline. Strong arms and hands. Played coverage teams and will be a ST asset from day one. Opportunistic. Good character.
Weaknesses: Guesses wrong too much. Shoestring tackles at times when he doesn't need to. A little short, and thus would be set up across the middle by big TEs. May be best moving back to OLB, where he can use his speed to protect the wide side of the field.
Projection: 5-6th rounder."
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