2023 NFL Draft: Top 10 Edge Defenders and their fits with the Atlanta Falcons
No. 3: Nolan Smith, Georgia
2022: 8 Games Played, 18 Tackles, 7.0 Tackles for Loss, 3.0 Sacks, 1 QB Hurry, 1 Pass Deflection, 1 Kick Return, 9 Yards
2021: 14 Games Played, 56 Tackles, 10.0 Tackles for Loss, 3.5 Sacks, 4 QB Hurries, 1 Interception, 3 Fumbles Forced, 1 Fumble Recovered, 1 Pass Deflection, 1 Blocked Kick
2020: 10 Games Played, 22 Tackles, 2.5 Tackles for Loss, 2.5 Sacks, 7 QB Hurries
2019: 14 Games Played, 18 Tackles, 2.5 Tackles for Loss, 2.5 Sacks, 11 QB Hurries, 1 Pass Deflection
Nolan Smith is underrated on a lot of the media boards at this time. He's one of the best pass rushers in the draft class. In just eight games, he was able to get three sacks and was showing knowledge of a pass-rush repertoire. He's one of the best run defenders in the draft despite his smaller size, but his injury history really hurts him. Smith is stronger than people realize and could end up starting in the NFL in his first season because of his ability as a run defender and his strength.
The Falcons would be very interested in him due to his leadership. During the season after his injury, he acted like a de facto assistant linebackers coach for the Bulldogs. Only a good leader would do that. Atlanta would likely have to take him at No. 8 overall to secure his services but might be better served to trade down with a team like the Titans or the Commanders and take him in that No. 11 to No. 16 overall range. Smith has a lot of similarities on film to Khalil Mack coming out.