(Editor’s Note: Now that offseason practices are in full swing, let’s get to know 30 Cowboys players who are new to the current 90-man roster. Today we continue the series with wide receiver Devin Smith.)
How He Got Here: Smith was drafted by the New York Jets in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft. An NFL career riddled with injuries, Smith has debated retirement, but feels at this point in his career, he still has more to give. He played receiver at Ohio State from 2011-2014.
A high second-round draft pick in 2015 turned for the worse for Smith. Injury after injury broke him down, not only physically with two ACL tears, but mentally. But he says his love for the game has pushed him back to this point with the Cowboys to continue the journey. Coming from the fraternity of Ohio State football, Smith hopes his hometown of Akron sees him as an example.
Bet You Didn’t Know: Smith is known for his speed, he ran a 4.42 40 at the combine.
Quotable: “I’ve got an opportunity here, and I’m just trying to take full advantage of it. Injury after injury, it kind of broke me down and I got depressed for a while. My mental wasn’t right, and it was hard. But really got me over the hump is the fact that I love this game. Seeing all my friends in the NFL, seeing them succeed, I just wanted to be a part of that, especially coming from Ohio State, with a lot of guys in the pro’s doing well, I wanted to be one of those guys and show an example to the young kids in my hometown of Akron.” – Devin Smith, on why he continues to fight.
Bryan Broaddus’s Take: Was one of the fastest players in the country when he arrived on the scene from Ohio State. Has struggled with injuries throughout his career. Has a rare blend of speed and body control. He moves well and makes it look so smooth. Could be an impact athlete with football skills but he’s never healthy enough to make a serious run for a roster spot. He will need to improve his route running if he wants to be more than a guy that just slices through a defense. Efficient as a receiver who moves well. Easy acceleration and burst. Comfortable hands catcher. Has the speed to put defensive backs in a terrible position coverage wise. Spent time on the practice squad with the club in 2018, so he knows the drill and hopefully he can maintain his health.
Role/Roster Chances: Smith is aware of his struggles when it comes to staying healthy, but wasn’t afraid to come back for more in the NFL. Smith’s role is to bolster depth to the wide receiver group, and gain traction during training camp. He battles not only the newness of joining the Cowboys in January, but the injuries of his past. He’s obviously got fight in him to be here at this point.