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CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa All-America defensive end Elerson G. Smith was selected in the fourth round with the 116th overall pick by the New York Giants on Saturday in the NFL Draft.
Smith was projected as a day-three selection after establishing himself as a premier FCS player in 2019 with 14 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles.
Much like his former teammate Spencer Brown, Smith arrived at UNI in 2016 tall and slim but added over 60 pounds to his frame and developed into a 6-foot-6, 262-pound defensive weapon for the Panthers.
Dan Shonka, former NFL scout and current general manager of OurLads Scouting Services, told The Gazette that Smith reminds him of former Miami Dolphins All-Pro Jason Taylor.
“He’s got that length that you really like,” Shonka said. “A guy with long arms like that, he ended up bench-pressing 26 reps (at his pro day), which is outstanding. I think the thing that really helped him, he really impressed people at the Senior Bowl.
Smith said after his pro day — where he jumped 41.5 inches on his vertical test — that he met with all 32 teams and had been told by personnel that they see him as able to play in four-man and three-man front schemes.