Smith: Baltimore Defense a Great Fit

Former Iowa State rush defensive end Tyson Smith signed as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens shortly after the draft wrapped up on Sunday. Smith spoke with about his chances of making the team.

CN: What are your thoughts on being picked up by the Baltimore Ravens as a free agent?

Tyson Smith: I'm just looking forward to it. Hopefully I go in and make the team. I think I can learn a lot playing with the veterans they have there. They've got a stacked defense with a whole lot of pro bowlers. I want to go in and learn and develop fast and hopefully become just as good a player as everybody else there.

CN: It has to mean something to you when a team like the Ravens wants you for their defense.

Smith: It was a mutual thing for both of us. They do a lot of things with their outside linebacker. I think I fit in with their system real well, coming in off the edge. I played that position in high school, I'm real familiar with it, and had a lot of fun with it. Hopefully I can go in and do what I did here – create a lot of pressure on the quarterback and causing destruction in the backfield. That's what their defense does. The linebacking corps is one of the best in the NFL. I want to go in and make a good impression.

CN: How did everything come together with Baltimore after the draft ended?

Smith: Throughout the draft I was at home with my family watching it. I was up all day. I didn't get a phone call from anybody, so I got a little worried. About an hour after the draft I called my agent and he said he was on the phone with Baltimore. He called me right back after he got done talking to them. We talked and decided that was the best place for me to go. Right now I'm leaving on Thursday for rookie mini camp and will come back on Saturday.

CN: Were there any other teams that you and your agent had considered?

Smith: He didn't even say. He said Baltimore wanted me really bad and it was a perfect fit for me. I had talked to their scout at the Hula Bowl and he came down for pro day. Evidently, they were impressed. I just wanted to go to a team that ran a 3-4 defense. It's a perfect fit for me.

CN: How are you a better fit for a 3-4 defense?

Smith: Their three down linemen usually plug up the middle and that lets the linebackers run free. Or they blitz them a lot. That's the strength of my game, coming off the edge and creating pressure. That's why they're bringing me in. That's what their linebackers do a lot of. Obviously, I need to learn more about the coverages and improve. We'll see what happens from there.

CN: Have you talked to anyone from Baltimore, or just communicated through your agent?

Smith: I haven't talked to any of the coaches yet. I'll probably see them on Thursday. A secretary called me today and told me all kinds of information, what we're going to do, and when they're flying me out.

CN: What kind of opportunity will you have of making the team?

Smith: I feel that if I pick everything up and learn everything fast, I think I can contribute. It won't be as much as I like, but I think I can contribute. I'll probably play a lot of special teams this year.

CN: What's next for you beyond the rookie mini camp?

Smith: I'll come back here and after I graduate I'll be leaving right after that. They'll fly me back out. I don't know the exact date, but it will probably a week or so after graduation. I'll start working out with the team.

CN: Anything else you'd like to share about signing a free agent contract with Baltimore?

Smith: I'm just excited. There couldn't be a better defense that I fit in with. I'm excited to meet all of their pro bowlers like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and hopefully even Deion Sanders because he's a legend. I'm excited to meet new people and get everything going.

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