The Falcons brought in Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith for a private visit, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter. They should definitely have him pretty high on their board, as he could be an asset at linebacker or safety in the base and sub-packages.
He should also be an experienced special teams asset for the Falcons. With him on the roster, they would have more scheme and coverage versatility than they currently do. They could also have a legitimate starting safety that would be an improvement over Thomas DeCoud.
Florida State University
Combine/Pro Day Measurements
Height: 6'3" Weight: 218 pounds
Arm Length: 32.5" Hand Measurement: 10.25"
40 yard dash: 4.52 sec. 10 yard split: 1.53 sec.
Vertical Jump: 31.5" Broad Jump: 9'11"
2013: 14 Games Played, 90 Tackles, 9.5 Tackles for Loss, 2.0 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 3 Interceptions, 1 Fumble Recovered, 4 Pass Deflections, 2 Defensive Touchdowns
2012: 14 Games Played, 64 Tackles, 9.5 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 1 Fumble Forced, 3 Pass Deflections
2011: 12 Games Played, 42 Tackles, 8.5 Tackles for Loss, 3.0 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 1 Interception, 1 Fumble Forced, 3 Pass Deflections
2010: 14 Games Played, 18 Tackles, 1.5 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sacks
Smith has arguably the highest football IQ of any linebacker in the entire draft. He's also got the speed and agility to play sideline to sideline at either safety or linebacker. He's extremely aggressive in how he attacks both the ball and the ball-carrier.
He's talented in zone coverages and can man up on a tight end. He's also a great special teams player who could contribute there early on. He plays with great leverage and has no issues tackling any ball-carrier. He's an ideal fit for the Falcons free safety vacancy.
Smith is a bit undersized for the linebacker position. He could gain weight on his frame if need be, but honestly, he needs to move to safety. The issue here is whether or not he would be willing to play safety. He could also improve as a pass-rusher.
When he sheds blocks, he needs to start using his hands batter. He tends to get locked up and blocked out of plays due to his lack of natural size and strength. He was always protected by a top-tier defensive line in his college days.
How does he fit the Comrade Filter?
There are guys who make mistakes and learn from them. And then there is the case of Telvin Smith—someone who took his adversity and became the unquestioned leader of the Seminoles defense. He was suspended one game in 2011 for a violation of team rules.
However, he's been nothing but a championship-caliber leader since then. The Falcons will fall in love with his off-field persona in the same way they fell in love with Sean Weatherspoon's off-field persona. He'll be an asset to any locker room he's in.
Smith is the best linebacker in the draft. However, he could also be one of the best safeties in the draft as well. He should go anywhere from the late second to the early fourth round. His best fits are at 4-3 weak-side linebacker or strong safety.
Nonetheless, teams will be lining up to bring him in, as he's a playmaker. His career numbers of 29.0 tackles for loss, seven sacks and 11 pass deflections as a linebacker are all excellent marks. Any NFL team would love to have him on its roster.
How he would fit into the Falcons' plans
The Falcons could view Telvin Smith as a starting-caliber safety on their roster. Or they could see him as the long-term solution as a linebacker who understands how to cover tight ends properly. However, the Falcons should definitely take into consideration the talented defensive player.
Ideally, the Falcons will use their scheme to include the "Wolverine" package that coordinator Mike Nolan has always loved. It includes a player who will be a linebacker, safety or even nickel cornerback depending on the alignment the offense is using at the time.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All combine and pro day info is courtesy NFL Draft Scout. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.