Jacquies Smith had it tough from the get go when he entered the 2012 NFL Draft. He went un-drafted to signing with the Miami Dolphins and that didn’t last too long. Soon after he went to the Canadian Football League and felt out of place then in 2013 he went ahead and signed on with the New York Jets practice squad. When that didn’t work out, Jacquies then signed with the Buffalo Bills (he loves the AFC East) and looked to make some strides. He thought he made the roster as he was part of the team during week one of the 2014 NFL Season. Smith couldn’t even settle down as he was cut after week one and then the Bucs came calling. Tampa Bay signed him off waivers during week two of the 2014 NFL Season and this is where Jacquies found his home. This is a tough process to take, but Jacquies kept working hard and stayed motivated as he continues to play with a chip on his shoulder.
The Bucs were loaded along the line (on paper) with All-Pro Gerald McCoy, oft injured Adrian Clayborn and newly signed Clinton McDonald and Michael Johnson with William Gholston in the mix as well. Jacquies did what he does best: work hard and stay motivated until his opportunity arose and that happened in week eight of season as he got his first start of his career. The Bucs did pile up injuries that paved the way for Smith but he didn’t take for granted the opportunity.
Now, did Jacquies blow it out the water statistically? No, but he impressed the coaching staff enough to keep him in the starting lineup. It’s hard to overlook that he pretty much played on passing downs which hurt his value for IDP heads. Smith didn’t grade too well via PFF (Pro Football Focus) posting a -4.0 rating but he did have 7 QB Sacks on 20 QB hurries but with little to no contribution in the tackles category. With the departure of Adrian Clayborn, the release of Michael Johnson (bust), and Gholston not relinquishing the starting spot, the Bucs have cleared the way for Jacquies Smith in 2015. They’ve also signed DE George Johnson away from the Lions to help their pass rush, as he’ll be opposite Smith with McCoy and Melton in the middle.
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IDP Forecast: the Bucs may draft a DE, in fact they should but that shouldn’t dig into Smith’s snaps as he’ll look to anchor the Bucs pass rush in 2015. As long as Smith continues to stay hungry and see just how good he can be, you wouldn’t have much worries come draft day when you need a DE. Jacquies said himself that he can be a double digit sack guy, I believe him as he already had 7 sacks in part-time play. He’s definitely flying under the radar though and like I mentioned in my other articles, the DE spot is becoming scarce and it’s best you grab the one’s that are here to stay. I view Smith as a high upside DL2 that you can get dirt cheap right now (DL4 price), as I believe he could post numbers like 40-50 tackles, 10-12 sacks and a few turnovers.
IDP Profile comparison: Cliff Avril – low tackle numbers but high sack totals and creating turnovers.
Ceiling: Jerry Hughes / Floor: Cliff Avril