The Chargers are taking the time to check out all sorts of players this offseason, especially those who seem to “check boxes” on and off the field. The Chargers have been known to covet prospects with high marks in leadership, character, and those who are active in their communities. That’s why it should come to no one’s surprise that the team was set to meet with North Carolina State’s James Smith-Williams at his pro day, prior to the mass cancelations by the NFL.
#NCState EDGE James Smith-Williams was scheduled to meet with the #Jets, #Titans, #Patriots, #Ravens & #Chargers at his Pro Day, which was cancelled due to COVID-19.— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) April 2, 2020
He's recently held pre-draft meetings over FaceTime with the #Jaguars, #Giants, #Titans, #Ravens & #Jets.
Smith-Williams is not your average player that makes it to both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. He only had one year of college football in which he stayed healthy, and even then it wasn’t the most spectacular year in terms of production and impact. His junior season 2018 saw him play in 11 games as a rotational player. He set career-highs in tackles, tackles-for-loss, and sacks with 36, nine, and six, respectively.
He saw time as a true freshman but utilized a redshirt season after his first major injury at the college level. Unfortunately, his next two seasons were also cut short due to injury. He managed a combined 23 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, and one sack across those two campaigns. As a senior in 2019, Smith-Williams played in just half the games, once again held back by injuries. He finished with 20 tackles to go along with a single tackle-for-loss and sack.
At the combine, Smith Williams ran a 4.60 in the forty, benched pressed 225 pounds 28 times, with a vertical and broad jump of 32 and 123 inches, respectively.
James Smith-Williams with a 4.61 40-yard dash! pic.twitter.com/H5L71qUDve— Pack Pride (@PackPride) February 29, 2020
So you’re obviously all wondering why and how this guy made to the top post-season showcases after a career that went sideways early and often. Well, scouts and NFL personnel can still see the potential Smith-Williams has, but they’re also thoroughly impressed with his extra-curricular activities outside of football. Smith-Williams spent time in college as an intern with IBM working on robotic animation on top of being a member of the 2019 AFCA All-Good Works Team which honors players who exemplify extraordinary effort in community service.
Now, I highly doubt a player with Smith-Williams background gets drafted by any team later this month, but he would definitely be a priority free agent as someone who could bring a lot to a locker rooms culture.