With their plethora of seventh-round selections, the Dallas Cowboys decided to add linebacker Will Smith to their 2014 rookie class.
Dallas decided to go back to the linebacker position in the seventh round despite the fact that it took Anthony Hitchens in the fourth. Judging by this decision, it's clear to see the Cowboys are tired of having to sign players off the street when their starting linebackers get injured.
An injury bug sweeping through the linebacker position has become something of a recent trend down on Valley Ranch. By taking Smith in addition to Hitchens, the hope from Dallas' prospective is to have some insurance in case injuries strike again in 2014.
In his senior season at Texas Tech, Smith tallied 120 tackles, 86 of which he made all on his own. He also posted 4.5 sacks.
Cowboys take Texas Tech ILB Will Smith in seventh round. Had 120 tackles this year. Holiday Bowl defensive MVP.— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) May 10, 2014
It's clear that Smith has the ability to make a tackle in one-on-one situations and can be relied upon to do so. At his pro day, the Red Raider posted a 4.59 40-yard dash time, per nfldraftscout.com, showing he has wheels to pair with his tackling ability.
While he's not going to become the next Lee or Dat Nguyen, there is room on the Cowboys roster for a player who can fly around the field and make an open field tackle.
The biggest issue for Smith is the fact that Hitchens was selected three rounds before him. It's possible, but unlikely, that Smith will find his name higher on the depth chart than the former Hawkeye. DeVonte Holloman and Cameron Lawrence are two other names that Smith likely won't best in training camp.
While depth at linebacker is certainly needed, Smith will likely see more playing time next season with the special teams unit. Dallas lost a stout tackler in Danny McCray this offseason, and Smith could be his replacement.
Perhaps the biggest part of the job for any special teams player is the ability to make one-on-one tackles and weave through traffic. Smith showed in college that he can do both things quite well.
It's more than likely Dallas picked the in-state talent with the idea that special teams could use someone like him. Smith will provide the Cowboys with immediate help in one aspect of the game and depth at a key position in another.