Georgia’s Nolan Smith runs a 4.39 40-yard dash at NFL combine

INDIANAPOLIS — Former Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith is impressing at the NFL combine. His enthusiastic and emotional interview captured headlines Wednesday, and he’s stood out on the field a day later.

Smith’s first 40-yard dash was clocked at an official 4.39 seconds. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds, Smith also posted a 41.5-inch vertical jump and a 10-8 broad jump.

While Smith’s weight will concern some evaluators, his exceptional athletic ability bolsters his case to be a first-round pick. Smith led the Bulldogs in sacks (3) and quarterback hits (16) over eight games before a torn pectoral muscle ended his season.

“This kid can do everything, and he’s another example of how Georgia can develop players,” analyst Charles Davis said on NFL Network’s broadcast. Davis also mentioned Smith as another example of why statistical production shouldn’t necessarily affect one’s view of Bulldogs prospects because of how they’re used. Smith had 12.5 career sacks in four seasons.

NFL Network also used an overlay to show how Smith outran premier receivers Stefon Diggs (4.46) and DeAndre Hopkins (4.57) in the 40-yard dash. Smith has been compared with Eagles pass rusher Haason Reddick (6-1, 235), who has 39.5 sacks over the past three seasons.

Smith shared he was ecstatic to participate in on-field drills following the injury that prematurely ended his college career. He’ll also participate in on-field drills at Georgia’s Pro Day later this month.

“I turned off the mock drafts, I turned off my phone,” Smith said Wednesday. “I picked up a book. You can’t hurt me. I wanted to create an iron mind that nobody can hurt me. No matter what you say about me, I’m going to work.”