With their fifth pick of the draft, the Minnesota Vikings used the 162nd pick to take linebacker Cameron Smith, out of USC.
Smith was a four-year contributor for the Trojans. Despite tearing his ACL as a freshman, he bounced back well and had his most productive year as a junior with 112 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and an interception. Knee and hamstring injuries slowed Smith his senior season, though he graded well when healthy.
The 6-2, 238-pounds linebacker ranked 19th nationally in run-stop percentage and 21st in tackling efficiency last year, per Pro Football Focus. His coverage skills were toward the bottom of his class, however, and he wasn’t given many pass-rushing opportunities with just 3.5 sacks in his career.
Smith had the third-highest vertical at the NFL Combine and tied for eighth in the 20-yard shuttle.
He joins a linebacker room that includes Kentrell Brothers, Devante Downs and Eric Wilson as primary backups. Ben Gedeon, Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr all return after being starters in the base defense last year, but Smith could vie for Gedeon’s reps and, at minimum, be a special teams contributor.
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