Player Spolight: Za’darius Smith

The biggest move the Vikings made this offseason was signing defensive lineman Za’darius Smith. Coming off a season where he did not play due to a back injury, fans were skeptical and concerned for his health and ability to play many games. On a team friendly contract, this was the perfect move.

So far this year Smith has played all 6 games and has only been banged up once. He has shown his worth, anchoring the defense. His play this year has been outstanding and I would like to highlight how he is playing and what he is doing.

The Stats:
Smith has an overall PFF grade of 83.2 which ranks 15th in the NFL, He has 29 pressures which is good for second in the league. Smith has tallied 5.5 sacks to go along with 10 solo tackles and 1 forced fumble. He is creating havoc and getting to the QB at an incredible rate.

The Play:
Smith is a violent pass rusher who uses his hands and strength to get around you. Playing in a 3-4 has seemed to help Smith also utilize his speed to beat the opposing lineman. Coming out of a 5 technique he is able to use his uphill leverage as well as his hands to create havoc at the point of impact. Dipping around the outside man and sometimes even stunting in.

In the game vs. the Dolphins Smith tallied 2 sacks and 11 pressures. He did this by attacking the weak offensive line of the Dolphins.

Let’s take a look at a play from the game.


As we can see here Smith is lined up wide in a 5 technique he is widespread covering the left tackle.

As The play begins we can see here that Smith does a stunt play where the interior defensive lineman blocks out causing the left guard to react and think double, this is where Smith comes around Harrison Phillips, he has picked up momentum and speed and is directly going for the QB.

  The offensive lineman tries to recover but Smith with speed and force continues his path to the football, he is creating movement along the offensive line which creates favorable matchups for him.

Look to see Smith continue his dominance if he stays healthy throughout the season
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