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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 03: Defensive lineman Sutton Smith of Northern Illinois runs the 40-yard dash during day four of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 3, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Taysom Hill is arguably one of the most interesting individuals in all of football. The former BYU quarterback just about does it all when asked to by the New Orleans Saints. Sean Payton, the creative offensive guru that he is, groomed Hill to be a spark plug whenever need be. Not only did Hill make a considerable amount of plays for the offense during the 2018-2019 NFL season averaging a little over five yards per carry, but Hill was literally everywhere during special team plays. It seemed as though every special teams down, Hill was the first one down the field tracking the returner. Hill even had a blocked punt in his stat sheet for the 2018 campaign.

I thought this past season that Hill was one of a kind, but I do not think he will be going forward as teams search for their own sort of playmaking catalyst. This is what I call the Taysom Hill effect. The Pittsburgh Steelers may have found their guy to execute the Taysom Hill effect this very off-season. Someone who just entered the league, who may end up being utilized properly in the same sense as Hill but more to his own strengths. One of the NCAA’s premier pass rushers from the past couple years, Sutton Smith. Smith played his college ball at Northern Illinois, home of the Huskies. I believe Smith could be an upgraded Taysom Hill 2.0 for the Steelers.

Pittsburgh Steelers Rookie Sutton Smith Impacted by the Taysom Hill Effect

This past week at OTAs, the Steelers sixth-round draft pick was going through some halfback drills. Meaning, Mike Tomlin took notice of how Payton capitalized on Hill and the advantages with that kind of all-around player. Physically, Smith also has similar characteristics compared to Hill. Smith stands in at 6’1″ and 237 pounds, while Hill is 6’2″ and 221 pounds. Hill and Smith also are both human dynamos and tremendously versatile as well. Smith ran all over his opponents throughout his high school career as a running back. After watching Smith’s high school highlights, and his experience dominating a variety of positions it’ll be interesting to see how Tomlin and the Steelers use him.

The film showed the Steelers rookie doing a variety of things. The thing that caught my eye was his ability of also making plays with his hands downfield on offense. Who knows he could end up catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger before the 2019 season ends. Now Hill has indeed shown us he can do most of those things on the NFL level, but Hill has no place on the defensive side of the ball which makes me think Smith could be even more of an asset for the six-time Super Bowl champs. The edge rushing position, after all, is one of the most important jobs on the football field. All I know is Smith should look to thrive off possibly playing as a possible back, special teamer, and an edge rusher throughout this upcoming season.

Sutton Smith’s College Dominance

Scouting reports had Smith pegged as being too undersized to be an exceptional pass rusher in the league. I do however see pro potential for Smith’s defensive pass rushing ability. The man was, after all, third in total sacks with 15 this past year behind Kentucky’s Josh Allen and Louisiana State’s Jaylon Ferguson. For a sixth-round pick to finish right behind a guy who got drafted in the top 10 and a third round pick, that is impressive.

The year before last the Northern Illinois star finished the 2017-2018 season with 14 total sacks. So, there is no doubt that Smith has the explosiveness and the motor on the outside. Hopefully, his game can translate to the next level, against top level competition. If Smith does indeed take advantage of his opportunities, you could see him infiltrate the edge rushing rotation Pittsburgh traditionally has. If his defensive dominance does not translate over though, Tomlin can put Smith the spark plug somewhere he finds fitting.

My Expectation for Sutton Smith

I believe Smith will cement his place on the roster by having a Taysom Hill type of persona. Smith’s edge rushing ability I believe will end up translating eventually. Fans should be ecstatic getting such a complete player added to the roster so late in the 2019 draft. We will see just how the Steelers exploit Smith and his talents when the team’s preseason starts August 8, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Steelers coaches should watch Sutton Smith closely at that edge rushing position, as they may have found a hidden gem. Steelers Nation will be behind you all the way Sutton. Put the league on notice.

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