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2017 Rams Roster Preview: DL Tanzel Smart, Making The Rams Look Smart

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While the Rams draft addressed the offense early and often, they luckily also hit on a Smart draft pick.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The puns could get overwhelming as the Los Angeles Rams made a smart decision in selecting defensive lineman Tanzel Smart in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Projected by some publications (here and here) to be as high as a fourth-round pick, Smart fell into the Rams lap in Round 6. Smart impressed at the Senior Bowl as a tough player who can hold his ground and play intelligently. While not an impressive physical specimen compared to his peers, Smart is considered to have a somewhat limited ceiling but a high floor.

Roster Battle

While being a late round rookie may give Smart less opportunities to impress in the new defensive scheme under new Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips, Smart will likely get longer looks as the most recently drafted defensive lineman.

Smart will likely serve as a rotation lineman, carving a niche as a interior pass-rusher (5.5 sacks his senior season). With Tyrunn Walker released while facing sexual assault allegations, Smart’s path to make the team became a bit easier.

Expectations

Tanzel Smart is a smart football player with good experience and durability. He may not be the most physically gifted player but makes it all up on the field with his intangibles and positioning as a defensive lineman.

Look for Smart to be at the right place at the right time with discipline.

Chances of Making Final Roster (7/10)

As a backup along the stacked defensive line of DE Aaron Donald, DT Michael Brockers, and DE Dominique Easley, Smart will likely be able to play both end spots and inside as a pass rusher if asked to do so. Coach Phillips likes versatility and Smart has shown that he has can offer positional flexibility along the front.