Smith wasn't able to do any of the pre-draft activities like most prospects, including the combine and pro days because of his recovery from knee surgery.
When Smith tore his ACL in November, he was leading the nation in terrorizing signal-callers with 12.5 sacks on the year. Smith says the injury happened on a freak play, and it was his mother who helped him cope with everything, per the article:
"I was just rushing. I tried to spin back around. The tackle was behind me," Smith said of the injury. "I must have planted wrong, and he just kind of gave me a push. I felt a snap and went straight down. When I found out what the injury was, how it was an ACL, I was upset. But I talked to my mom , and she just put the sense back in my head.
"She said: 'If you want to go on with this, you have to get over the injury. You have to push on.' "
Unlike most prospects who caught the attention of scouts long before their senior seasons, Smith turned many heads in a blowout loss. Against the Alabama Crimson Tide last year, Smith was able to dominate the best offensive line in the country. By game's end, Smith had registered three sacks of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron.