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NFL Draft 2011: With the #242nd Pick, the Seattle Seahawks Select LB Malcolm Smith, USC

With the Seahawks final pick, they chose linebacker Malcolm Smith out of USC. Another versatile, playmaking tweener that gives the Hawks several options on defense. Smith, the younger brother of New York Giant Steve Smith, is a freak of an athlete that recently ran a 4.47 forty, benched 225 28 times, and registered a 39" vertical jump at 6' 225. He projects as a weakside linebacker and special teams contributor and was originally thought to have been a fifth round prospect or so. He seems to be a tweener because of his size - he's on the small side for a linebacker and looks more like a strong safety so it will be interesting to see where they want him to play.

Malcolm Smith seems to be a Will Herring replacement, assuming Herring decides to leave in free-agency, and gives the Hawks some depth at the linebacker position. The pattern the Hawks front office has set in this draft is that of versatile, playmaking ballhawk types in the defensive secondary. For what it's worth, here's what former NFL Scout Dave Razzano had to say about Smith when he pegged him on his list of best values by position after round one:

The active and smart linebacker was not invited to the combine this season. Watch the USC tape and he is in/out of the lineup due to roster depth but is easy to spot when he plays. Excellent speed and play demeanor. Prototype 4-3 "will" backer.

Smith also provides some depth behind David Hawthorne and could step in down the line if/when Lofa Tatupu gets hurt again. I like this pick as a late round flyer on a guy that many had projected going off the board earlier. The Hawks' special teams unit is looking to be a lot stronger this year as well.