(Editor’s Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held April 30-May 2, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today’s featured player is Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith).
Name: Devin Smith
Position: Wide Receiver
College: Ohio State
Honors: Smith led the Big Ten in receiving touchdowns, with 12 – but it surprisingly wasn’t enough for all-conference honors. He received honorable mention.
Key stat: Smith is lauded for his ability to take the top off a defense, and you can see why in his yards per catch average. He finished 2014 with 33 catches, averaging a whopping 28.2 yards per grab.
Where He’s Projected: He’s not typically listed in the same breath as this draft’s top wide outs, like Kevin White and Amari Cooper, mainly because many view him as one-dimensional. He looks likely to go in the second or third round, though it’s doubtful he’d still be on the board when Dallas picks at No. 91.
How He Helps the Cowboys: It would be slightly surprising to see the Cowboys take a receiver as high as they’d have to select Smith, given their top trio of Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. That said, they need a burner who can bolster their return game, and they don’t currently have a bonafide deep threat among their receiving options. Smith could be both.
Scout’s Take: Was a highly sought after recruit in high school. Not the most polished receiver when it comes to running routes but there is no denying the speed in which he plays. Has the quickness to separate in a heartbeat. If he gets any type of space off the line – he is going to run by the defender. Plays with vertical speed. Is able to plant his foot in the ground and explode up the field. Outstanding foot quickness. Will split tacklers to get into the end zone. Physical runner. Shows sideline awareness. If there is an area where he can be hit and miss, it is with his hands. Not as consistent with them as others in this draft. Will fight the ball at times and double catch. Will also body catch down the field. Jumps to catch ball. Have seen him make the contested catch, though. Gets to the outside with quickness. Outstanding foot quickness. Tries to be physical off the press. Has the courage to catch the ball in a crowd. Have seen him make clutch plays during games. The tougher the catch, the more likely that he is going to make the play – but I have seen him drop some easy passes as well. Right now in his game, he does one thing really well and that is with his vertical routes down the field. Will need to learn how to take his speed and quickness and apply that to his overall game when it comes to running routes. There needs to be less stiff movements in his game but should develop that has he receives NFL coaching. Will be in the conversation for many clubs in the second round of the upcoming draft. – Bryan Broaddus