Ryan Smenda NFL Draft

Ryan Smenda Jr.

  • LB Wake Forest
  • Senior
  • #296
  • 6'2"
  • 237lbs
  • Prospect
  • Atlantic Coast

Prospect Summary

Ryan Smenda Jr. 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report


  • Older brother, Austin, plays defensive end at South Dakota State
  • Both parents are retired from the U.S. Navy
  • 49-7 record as a high school wrestler


  • Scheme tendencies: 3-4 base
  • 2022 projected role: Starting ILB

Pros: Ryan Smenda Jr. is an emotional leader for the Demon Deacons’ defense. He plays with a great motor and energy. He is a tackling machine with multiple 10-plus tackle games in his career. He is a physical, downhill linebacker. Smenda Jr. is an instinctive defender who keys and diagnoses pass or run. His motor is never in question—his pursuit of the football does not stop until the play is over. I loved his patience and vision to ignore eye candy during backfield action before locating the football. During his zone drops, Smenda Jr. reads the quarterback and nearby routes. He’s effective pressuring quarterbacks as an A-gap blitzer. His hands are useful to help slip and swipe away blocker’s hands as they climb to the second level. 

Cons: Ryan Smenda Jr. is not an explosive or twitchy athlete. His lateral movements are segmented and lack fluidity. As a result, outside runs can stress his movement skill and force overcompensation. He lacks a dynamic downhill trigger from depth in coverage. He showcases inconsistencies when tasked to take on blocks as the lone alley defender. Instead of shocking and disrupting the play’s timing, he will attempt to slip past OL. He looks to guess gaps instead of maintaining consistent run fit integrity, displacing himself for the RB to fill the void. He’s a bit high-hipped as a mover, limiting the ability to change directions fluidly.

Ryan Smenda Jr. NFL Draft Scouting Report by Damian Parson