Smith Hoping To Show His Skills At Combine

After a strong performance at the Senior Bowl, Devin Smith hopes to continue his forward momentum at the NFL combine.

Devin Smith averaged 28.2 yards per catch in 2014 to set an Ohio State record. He finished with 30 career TD grabs, second all-time among Buckeyes, and he set the mark for longest play in Ohio State history when he caught a 90-yard TD from Kenny Guiton in 2013.

So yes, the former OSU track athletes knows how to go deep, and he welcomes that part of the game. He is a student of the little things that go into excelling at catching the long ball, from getting off the line to tracking the ball in the air.

"Speed is obviously a key point in releasing from the line," he said. "You don’t want to spend too much time at the line, especially if you have an aggressive corner who’s trying to jam you. It’s all about using your hands to get the defender off of you and you use your speed as well.

"(Tracking the ball is) just pure concentration. A lot of it had to do when I high-jumped throughout my whole career, at Ohio State and high school, the small details of making sure that your steps were always right and it kind of carried over to the football field."

Those skills are what made Smith into what Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer calls the best deep man he's ever seen. But Smith also knows that he has to do more to become a high-level NFL draft pick, which he hopes to show this weekend at the NFL combine.

"(The combine is) very important especially when everybody says all I can do is run go routes," he said. "It’s very important for me to show these coaches that I can run every single route."

He started on that path at the Senior Bowl in January, where he was consistently rated among the top wideouts at the event. Going into the combine, Scout's NFL mock draft muncher, which averages mock drafts from across the internet, has him as a potential first-round pick of the New England Patriots at No. 32 overall. One draft has him going as high as 18 to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ending up in the first round, especially when he was far from a lock at all to be picked before the campaign, is Smith's goal.

"It’s unbelievable to be moving up draft boards," he said. "I’m just taking it day by day. I’m working hard as much as I can. Everything that’s happened is just a blessing.

"I’m hoping I go first round. Just being in this position, to be here at the combine and getting your name picked, it’s all a blessing to me. Wherever I get picked, whatever round, I’ll make the best of it."

Smith is one of four Buckeyes joining tight end Jeff Heuerman, defensive tackle Michael Bennett and cornerback Doran Grant.

On-field workouts will begin tomorrow with Heuerman competing with the tight ends. Smith will get his on-field workout the following day with Bennett competing Feb. 22 and Grant participating with the defensive backs Feb. 23.


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