Kristian: Will Smith is 'cool' with changing positions
Kristian@wwl.com - In a new defensive alignment, Saints veteran Will Smith is starting Organized Team Activities today at outside linebacker.
“On paper it’s outside linebacker, but it’s still defensive end. I’m cool with it,” Smith told me.
“It’s still the same role, I’m still rushing the passer. The difference is instead of being in a three point stance, I’m in a two point stance.”
Smith has spent his entire 9-year career with his hand in the ground playing in a 4-3 scheme. Entering his 10th season in the NFL, Smith has tallied 67.5 career sacks.
The “Cajun Cannon” Bobby Hebert says the move makes sense to him. “I think they know what they have in Will Smith as a defensive end, they want to see what he can do as a rush linebacker,” said Hebert. “I think you can get five to six sacks out of Will Smith at this point in his career. That would be pretty productive.”
Yes, it’s a drastic change for Smith, but this sounds like a bit of an experiment. If it doesn’t work they could still move him back to defensive end in the 3-4 under Rob Ryan.
The Big Question in Hebert’s mind for Smith is, “How well can he run? How well can he cover running backs out of the backfield?” Smith does have 25 career pass break-ups, with several of those coming at the line of scrimmage, batting down passes.
Smith took a $6 million pay cut and restructured his contract this off-season. Bobby says Smith looks to be a lock to make the roster. “He’s still in the mix after taking the cut in pay. The only way Smith doesn’t make the roster is if he completely falls on his face,” Hebert said.
Smith is a veteran guy, and he’s “their kind of guy,” so it makes sense to take a look outside linebacker. At the end of the day, if it doesn’t work out you know they can move him right back to the defensive line. The competition at the linebacking spots will be one to watch during OTA’s, mini-camp and Training Camp.