As the college football season heads toward its finish, FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Smael Mondon Jr.
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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Smael Mondon Jr.
Smael Mondon Jr. (LB – Georgia)
6’3″ – 225 lbs.
Five-star recruit and Georgia native who appeared in a reserve role as a freshman, totaling 10 tackles, before stepping into the starting lineup the following year and posting a 76-8.0-1.0 line over 653 snaps. Is currently on pace to finish with similar totals this season.
Two-year starter for a major program. Has good length and the frame to add additional weight. Excellent athlete with true sideline-to-sideline range and a high motor. Plays the run with square shoulders and good knee bend, showing patience and discipline. Takes his time to diagnose and rarely gets caught out of position as a result; shows good overall awareness of locating the ball carrier. Attacks blocks with good extension and physicality; has some violent power in his hands. Active with his hands to sift through traffic. Length and closing burst give him an impressive tackling radius, and has been a very reliable tackler overall for the Bulldogs.
One of the most versatile coverage linebackers in the class, and has improved this year. Light on his feet in zone, with some twitchy elements to his game. Diagnoses route combinations well, showing patience. Uses his hands well to stay connected on crossing routes. Able to shade over slot receivers and work in man coverage a little bit. Effective blitzer who looks explosive and closes quickly; has been more productive in that regard this season.
Might be considered a bit thin for some teams. Functional strength is a work in progress; can be washed off his spot by some tight ends. Not the most anticipatory player; hasn’t racked up quite as many splash plays as some of the other linebackers in the class. Doesn’t make as many plays on the ball in coverage as you’d expect given his athleticism and length; has just one career interception and two career passes defended as of the time of writing.
A long, fast, and explosive linebacker with excellent range and more physicality than anticipated given his relative lack of bulk. May not be the splashiest player at his position, but can do a bit of everything and rarely gets caught out of position or undermines his team’s run fits by freelancing or playing too aggressively. Has the talent to develop into a starting weakside linebacker, and should be able to contribute relatively early on passing downs due to his coverage skills and explosiveness as a blitzer. Should be among the first handful of linebackers off the board.
Projection: Round 4