INDIANAPOLIS – The coverage linebacker. Some people think it's a myth, an unobtainable target that every defense has in the modern world trying to defend every expanding passing attacks.
But for undersized Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith, coverage ability is what he believes makes him different than most other linebackers in this year's draft class.
Though Smith measures just 6-3, 218, he hopes to run the fastest 40 of any linebacker in Indy, and says he's capable of covering like no one else.
"That's something we probably won't be able to show in the Combine drills, but you turn on my film I'm probably the best, bar none, cover linebacker at the Combine or in the country. Period," Smith says with confidence.
As he enters a league with guys working the middle of the field like Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker or Jimmy Graham, Smith believes he can overcome the challenges those players represent.
"I can handle anybody that comes through the middle running a route or anything," he said.
Many guys are billed as coverage linebackers. Others say they're coverage linebackers. Most fail to live up to that scouting report at the NFL level. It will be interesting to see down the road if Smith can walk the walk after talking the talk.