Ravens add Kentucky pass rusher Za'Darius Smith in fourth round


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens began the final day of the NFL draft by filling the void of another free-agent departure with the selection of Kentucky defensive end Za’Darius Smith.
Chosen in the fourth round as the 122nd overall pick, Smith is expected to help fill the pass-rushing void left behind by Pernell McPhee. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound rusher was named the defensive MVP of the East-West Shrine Game and received a late invitation to the Senior Bowl.
In meeting with Smith, the Ravens made no secret about his versatility along the defensive line being an ideal replacement for McPhee. This gave the Alabama native a good idea about Baltimore’s interest in him.
“That’s all they talked about,” Smith said in a conference call with the Baltimore media. “I’m going to follow in his footsteps. A lot of people are going to be hearing from Za’Darius Smith as a Baltimore Raven.”
Smith did not begin playing football until his senior year of high school, but the junior college transfer emerged as a two-year starter at Kentucky where he collected a combined 10 1/2 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss in 2013 and 2014.