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With The 253Rd Pick The Falcons Select Yawin Smallwood-Lb

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6'2", 246LBS


Strong safety-option quarterback who also played basketball as a Massachusetts prep. Redshirted in 2010. Started all 36 games of his career at middle linebacker, pacing UConn tacklers his final two seasons -- totaled 94 tackles, 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks with three pass breakups, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble return touchdown in '11; 120-15-4 with four pass breakups and two forced fumbles in '12; and 118-9.5-4 with nine pass breakups, an interception TD and two forced fumbles in '13. Team captain. Strained his left hamstring running the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and did not run at his pro day while still nursing the injury, only performing positional drills.



Good size, acceleration and straight-line speed. Plays on his feet and sidesteps blocks. Gets depth in his zone drops and keeps pace with backs in coverage. Highly productive three-year starter. Respected, coachable team captain. Very good leaping ability (36 1/2-inch vertical).


Average eyes and instincts. Does not use his hands violently to take on and discard blocks. Shows some lower-body stiffness. Dull lateral agility. Does not play downhill and can be a step late to the perimeter. Inconsistent run fits and tackling -- too often fails to wrap and drive through ball carriers.


Rounds 4-5


Productive college middle linebacker at his best when he's kept clean or has a clear path. Projects best in a 4-3, where he has enough athleticism and functionality in coverage to play in the middle or on the weak side. Has starter-caliber potential, but might be the type you look to replace.

-Nolan Nawrocki

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