NFL

Rashad Smith, Undrafted, Could Be the Cowboys’ Newest Savior at Linebacker

Dallas Cowboys fans may want to closely acquaint themselves with Rashad Smith, the team’s newest linebacker.

Dallas signed Smith, an undrafted rookie who spent the offseason with the Chicago Bears, after the team suffered even more injuries.

Starting middle linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is out indefinitely with a collarbone injury and outside linebacker Sean Lee will miss roughly six weeks after hernia surgery.

Enter Smith, a rangy linebacker who could be the Dallas Cowboys‘ savior on defense.

Rashad Smith excelled at Florida Atlantic

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In a non-pandemic year, Rashad Smith would have benefited from pro days and true visits and everything else during the pre-draft process.

Smith was a productive linebacker in his four years at Florida Atlantic and started every game in his final three seasons.

After notching 22 tackles and a sack as a freshman in 2016, Smith joined the starting lineup in 2017 and broke out in a big way. Smith had 99 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, six sacks, and forced a fumble for an FAU team that went 11-3 and won the Conference USA title.

Smith grabbed four interceptions and had 5.5 tackles for loss in 2018, a down year for the Owls. Starting all 14 games last season, Smith totaled 109 tackles, 11.5 TFLS, 3.5 sacks, forced a fumble, snagged five fumble recoveries, and grabbed three interceptions.

Smith even had a pick-6 in his final college game, an upset of SMU in the Boca Raton Bowl.

Smith ended his FAU career with 316 tackles, 31 TFLs, 11.5 sacks, seven interceptions, two forced fumbles, and six fumble recoveries.

Dallas recently signed Smith from Chicago

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Although Rashad Smith went undrafted in April, he quickly found a home on the Chicago Bears’ practice squad.

The lack of a preseason hurt Smith’s chances of making the 53-man roster. Smith opened the 2020 season on Chicago’s practice squad and drew a Week 1 paycheck for that reason.

Smith wasn’t long for Chicago, though by no fault of his own. Dallas signed Smith to its 53-man roster after injuries decimated its linebacking core.

Rashad Smith could be the Cowboys’ savior at linebacker

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Dallas needs all of the help it can get at linebacker, and Rashad Smith may be its savior.

Smith excelled in college at defending the pass. He is a playmaking linebacker with excellent vision, awareness, and coverage skills.

Although Dallas promoted Smith to the 53-man roster as quickly they did, they kept him out of the Week 2 matchup with Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons.

The Cowboys can’t afford a slow start to the season, even in a weak NFC East Division. If Smith is a hidden key to the Cowboys’ success, they need to give him that opportunity regardless of him going undrafted.

Jerry Jones and Mike McCarthy have each been around long enough to see undrafted players shock the world. Cowboys fans should be paying close attention to the linebacker wearing No. 53 whenever Smith makes his NFL debut.

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