<span style=""> <span style="">In the weeks leading up to the start of the New Orleans Saints' 2009 training camp, NewOrleansSaints.com will take an inside look at some interesting facts and figures of various high-profile players on the Saints' roster. This is part three in the series.</span>
<span style="">DEFENSIVE END WILL SMITH</span> <span style="">Height:</span> 6-3
NFL Experience in 2009: 6th Season
Years with Saints: 6th Season
College: Ohio State
- Will Smith is one of the Saints' top playmakers on defense, having recorded 342 tackles (223 solo), 36.5 sacks, 13 passes defensed, 13 forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries in 78 contests with 59 starts in 2004. He was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2006 after recording a career-high 10.5 sacks.
- After signing a six-year contract extension during the 2008 off-season and being named one of the two defensive team captains for the second consecutive season, Smith made 77 tackles (44 solo), three sacks, one pass defensed and one forced fumble last season while battling through a painful abdominal injury that has since been repaired.
- Smiths second quarter sack vs. the San Francisco 49ers on September 28 in the team's victory forced a fumble that was recovered by MLB Jonathan Vilma and set up New Orleans' first touchdown, which put the Saints ahead for good.
- Smith led the defensive line with six tackles (four solo) at Kansas City on November 16, and his first quarter sack on QB Tyler Thigpen on an early third down pinned the Chiefs deep in their own territory and set up the Saints' offense on a short field after a punt. The Saints scored on the ensuing drive and didn't look back the rest of the afternoon en route to victory.
- Since arriving in New Orleans, Smith has been particularly adept at creating turnovers. He enjoyed a stretch of five-straight games where he caused a fumble (the final four games of his rookie season and the 2005 season opener), the lone player in club history to accomplish the feat. Smith has forced 13 fumbles in his five-year career with the Saints, which ties him for the 12th highest total in the NFL in that period and has six recoveries on his resume.
NFL LEADERS IN FORCED FUMBLES (2004-2008)
Rank Player, Current Team No. 1. Robert Mathis, IND 26 2. Dwight Freeney, IND 22 3t. Jason Taylor, MIA 21 3t. John Abraham, ATL 21 5. DeMarcus Ware, DAL 18 6t. Julius Peppers, CAR 17 6t. Brian Dawkins, DEN 17 8. Jared Allen, MIN 16 9t. Leonard Little, StL 15 9t. Aaron Schoebel, BUF 15 11t. Charles Tillman, CHI 14 11t. Nate Clements, SF 14 13t. Will Smith, NO 13 13t. Osi Umenyiora, NYG 13 13t. James Harrison, PIT 13
- WILL SMITH ... BY THE NUMBERS
- 3: Consecutive season Smith led the Saints in sacks (2005-2007).
- 13: Career forced fumbles, including a club-record five-game stretch in 2004-2005, where he had one in each game.
- 5: With 36.5 sacks through the 2008 season, the 12th highest in team history, Smith is five sacks behind fellow defensive end Charles Grant for tenth place in the club's all-time list of quarterback takedowns.
- 85: Tackles in 2005, marking a career-high despite starting only nine games.
- 10.5: Number of sacks posted by Smith in his breakout season of 2006-his first as a full-time starter-helping him earn a starting nod in the Pro Bowl.
- 18: Smith was selected by the Saints out of Ohio State with the 18th overall pick in 2004, the highest the club had drafted a defensive end since selecting Saints Hall of Fame member Joe Johnson 13th overall in 1994.