“Everyone Thought I Died” | Georgia’s Nolan Smith WOWS At NFL Combine 

The NFL combine got off to a great start on Thursday in Indianapolis. Players were able to finally show scouts what they could do with the cameras, stopwatches clicking and future bosses all watching. Well, if Thursday’s results are any indication, this is going to be a great combine. Thursday’s standout was UGA linebacker Nolan Smith, whose numbers were so impressive that he may have put himself in the first round and made himself millions. 

(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

Who Is Nolan Smith?

The speedy edge rusher was dynamic, he ran a combine record 4.39 40, which is the record for someone that size of 6 feet 3 and 240 pounds. He also had a 41.5-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-8 broad jump, all putting his freakish athletic ability on full display. With all eyes locked in on him, Smith was the star of the day. 

The dynamic UGA star talked to the NFL Network on Wednesday about the combine as a whole and why he’s there.

“I play football. That’ why I’m here. I haven’t done anything in a long time,” Smith told reporters Wednesday. “I can’t wait to showcase my talents. Everyone thought I died and all this stuff. I turned off the mock drafts, I turned off my phone, and I picked up a book. 

“You can’t hurt me. I just wanted to create an iron mind, and a mind that no one can hurt me.  No matter what you say about me, I’m just going to work.”

Smith is speaking of himself being a forgotten man in this year’s draft after his late-season shoulder injury. Some believe the time away hurt his draft stock, but Smith came in here wanting to prove he should still be a first-round pick. 

Thursday’s showing definitely proved he should still be considered a first-round pick. 

Smith’s 40 Time Changed His Draft Status

Smith running a 4.39 40 opens up the floodgates for his draft stock. As an edge rusher, that type of speed is in high demand by coaches and general managers all over the league. It also gives teams the belief that he could get out in pass coverage if asked to as an edge rusher or outside linebacker. 

Finally, it lets those general managers who may have once had him high on their draft boards know that he’s back to that preseason first-round pick he was expected to be. That’s what combines and pro days are for, to show teams things they want to see and let that determine if they wanna draft you. For Smith, he did that all Thursday, and in doing so, probably changed his draft status. 

Smith Made Himself Millions

With Thursday’s showing Smith probably gets invited to draft’s green room, which is where all the expected first-round picks are placed as they await their names to be called. It’s an exclusive room and getting invited almost guarantees you’re going to make a whole lot of millions. So, in essence, Thursday’s amazing effort put Smith in another tax bracket, one that he surely has no problem with. 

Now Smith will have one more showing at his pro day on March 15, and then whichever teams ask for a private workout prior to the draft. Either way, he’s likely made himself a much bigger payday. 

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