Mississippi State’s Preston Smith did not have to wait long to hear his name called on the second day of the NFL Draft.
The 6-foot-5, 271-pound defensive end was the sixth selection of the second round (38th overall) by the Washington Redskins. Smith is the fifth Bulldog to be drafted by the franchise and first since Fred Smoot in 2001. It is the highest an MSU player has been picked by the Redskins.
Smith is also the second-highest MSU defensive lineman to be drafted since 1983.
During his career, the Stone Mountain, Ga., product appeared in 47 games including 24 starts. Smith tallied 134 tackles, 27 for loss, 16 sacks, five forced fumbles, a recovery and two interceptions – one of which he returned for a 21-yard touchdown.
As a senior, Smith led the team with 15 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He also had 48 tackles, two forced fumbles, two blocked kicks and a pair of interceptions.
The former three-star prospect from Stephenson High School was selected first team All-SEC and invited to the Senior Bowl. He also earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week three times and National Defensive Player of the Week once.
Smith is expected to switch to outside linebacker at the pro level in Washington’s 3-4 defensive scheme.
“I feel like it’ll go well because we had a lot of different looks from college, playing stand-up and doing a lot of drops, doing a lot of different defensive looks from standing up,” Smith said. “I feel like it’ll be a great transition. It’s something I’m used to, something I’m familiar with, and it won’t be hard for me to adjust.”