Fleming Island, FL

Former Fleming Island High football player hopes to hear name called during NFL draft

Tony Salazar

With the NFL draft officially open next Thursday, 259 college prospects will achieve their dreams of hearing their name called over the three-day draft period. Former Fleming Island Golden Eagle and Wake Forest Demon Deacon linebacker Ryan Smenda Jr could be one of those names called.

In 56 total games played, Smenda has a career total of 355 total tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one interception for the Demon Deacons. Smenda was on the 2021 Preseason Second Team All-ACC by Pro Football Focus and the 2020 Preseason Phil Steele Preseason All-ACC Second Team.

Following his declaration to the NFL draft, Smenda showcased his skillset in front of NFL scouts at Wake Forest’s Pro Day. At the Pro Day, Smenda measured in at 6 foot one and a half at 230 pounds. Smenda ran a 4.72 40-yard dash, a 29 and half inch vertical, a 9”2” broad jump, a 6.88 3-cone drill and 23 reps on the 225-pound bench press.

Following Smenda’s Pro Day, Kent Lee Platte gave Smenda a RAS score of 5.42 out of 10. Platte takes the measurables and athletic testing of NFL prospects to create a RAS score which stands for Relative Athletic Score. Since Platte created the RAS in 1987, Smenda ranks as the 1214th out of 2648th most athletic linebackers based on his testing.

Tony Pauline of ProFootball Network provided his analysis after Smenda’s Pro Day as well. Pauline said that Smenda is a tough run-defending linebacker who is patient. Pauline also credited Smenda as a linebacker who doesn't bite on fakes and quickly locates the ball carrier. However, Pauline said that Smenda has average speed and low burst which makes him ineffective in pursuit. Pauline calls Smenda “a hard-charging linebacker with a two-down game and limited upside.”

NFL draft website The Draft Network created a profile on Smenda and has him as their 34th linebacker and 344th overall prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. TDN sees Smenda’s best fit in the NFL as a potential starting inside linebacker in a 3-4 base defense. TDN scouting reporter Damian Parson viewed Smenda as the heart and soul of the Demon Deacons last season. “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,” said Parson. However, Parson said that Smenda is not explosive and fluid of an athlete as other linebackers in the class.

If Smenda gets drafted, fans should expect to hear his name called during the third day of the draft from rounds 4 to 7.

Smenda graduated from Fleming Island in 2018 and was a three-star recruit on multiple recruiting websites coming out of high school. Smenda was a three-year varsity starter and a two-year team captain for the Golden Eagles. Smenda finished his career with Fleming Island with 175 total tackles, 21 tackles for loss, three blocked punts, four blocked field goals and one interception as a senior, according to the Wake Forest website.

Smenda was also a three-time state district champion and two-time region champion in high school wrestling. Smenda signed with Wake Forest out of high school over offers from Akron, Alcorn State, Appalachian State and Charleston Southern.

Photo byRyan Smenda's Instagram

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

Comments / 0

Published by

I am a graduate of the University of North Florida with a major in communication with a focus in journalism and a minor in sports management.

Green Cove Springs, FL

More from Tony Salazar

Comments / 0