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Giants draft Northern Iowa LB Elerson Smith in Rd 4


With the 116th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Northern Iowa defensive lineman Elerson Smith (6-6, 252 pounds).


  • Racked up 14 sacks, 14 QB hurries, 21.5 Tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and two blocked kicks and 64 total tackles during the 2019 season.
  • Finished his career with 32.5 TFLs, 22.0 sacks, 16 QB hurries.
  • Is the school record holder for QB hurries in a season with 14.
  • Finished in the UNI All-Time Top-10 in 12 different statistical categories. • Finished ninth on the 2019 Buck Buchanan Award list.
  • Was named the 2019 Phil Steele Preseason FCS Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Was a First-Team AFCA All-American after the 2019 season.
  • Earned First-Team MVFC Honors after the 2019 Season.
  • Was a member of UNI's Minority Student Leadership Team.
  • Was ranked 18th out of 1333 defensive ends measured since 1987 on the "Relative Athletic Score" metric. (Relative Athletic Score is a metic developed by Kent Lee Platte to gauge athletic abilities relative top position.)
  • Had the highest vertical of any D-End of the 2021 Draft class at 41.5.
  • Participated in the Senior Bowl.


  • Bench 29
  • Vertical 41.5-in
  • Broad 10-ft, 7-in
  • 40-yd 4.78
  • 20-yd Split 2.76
  • 10-yd Split 1.6
  • Shuttle 4.39
  • Pro Agility 7.11
  • Relative Athletic Score 9.72

View photos of Giants fourth-round pick Elerson Smith.


The Missouri Valley Conference postponed its 2020 fall football season until the spring, but Smith decided to move on to the next level and accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl. He garnered first-team all-conference accolades as a junior, his first year as a starter for the Panthers. He tied for the FCS lead with five forced fumbles, ranked sixth nationally with 21.5 tackles for loss and tied for fourth with 14 sacks among his 63 total stops in 15 games. Smith had shown promise on the edge his sophomore season, posting 19 tackles, 10.5 for loss, with 7.5 sacks in 13 games as a reserve. The first-team all-state pick from Minneapolis South High School did not play in either of his first two seasons at UNI, redshirting in 2016 and never seeing the field the following fall.


  • Long frame complemented by long arms.
  • Added 50 pounds of quality mass since 2016.
  • Flashes of his upside pop up in every game.
  • Overmatched by size against Iowa State but still battled his tail off.
  • Impressive snap timing and get-off quickness.
  • Elongated first three steps gain plenty of ground into rush turn.
  • Stalks and closes quarterbacks with efficiency once he's in the pocket.
  • Will punch, lift and shuffle around the block at point of attack.
  • Plays with some force in his hands.
  • Appears to have gained more weight since 2019, which helps his cause.

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