Off The Board: Devin Smith

Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith has been selected in the NFL draft, as the deep threat and multiple school record holder was chosen by The New York Jets.

Ohio State WR Devin Smith: Drafted
Round: Second, 37th overall
Team: New York Jets

Bio Info
Massillon, Ohio
4.42 40
31-inch arm length
9-inch hands
39-inch vertical jump
122-inch broad jump
4.15 20 yard shuttle

Scout Pre-Draft Rankings
Five-star prospect
No. 7 wide receiver in the draft
No. 32 overall prospect

LINK: Other Buckeyes On The Board

Ohio State Career: Smith was a decorated player in high school, appearing in the Ohio North-South Classic and Big 33 games while also winning state track titles, and he quickly showed his athleticism. As a true freshman, Smith tied for the team lead in receptions at Ohio State, and his biggest play was his 40-yard catch while wide open in the end zone in the final minute as the Buckeyes upset Wisconsin midway through the 2011 season.

He got off to a hot start in 2012, making an amazing, leaping, one-handed grab vs. Miami (Ohio) to score the Buckeyes' first touchdown of both the season and Urban Meyer's tenure while earning notice as the national play of the year. He later added game-winning TD catches vs. both Cal and Michigan State on the way to finishing with 30 grabs for 618 yards and a team-high six touchdowns. He also continued to take part in track, running on a 4x100-meter relay team that competed at the NCAA championships.

Smith kept getting better as a junior, finishing with 44 catches, 660 yards and eight scores. His 90-yard catch and run on the first drive of the win at Cal was the longest play in school history, and he followed it later in the game with a 47-yard TD. Smith also hauled in a 53-yard touchdown early in the win vs. Michigan.

As a senior, Smith rewrote the OSU record books by averaging 28.2 yards per grab, a school mark. He also finished his career with 30 TD grabs, second most in school history, after a season in which he grabbed 33 passes for 931 yards and 12 scores. His biggest game was against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, as he hauled in three deep TD scores from first-time starter Cardale Jones, and he added a long TD in the Sugar Bowl vs. Alabama. He added six grabs in the win at Michigan State, including a tiebreaking 44-yard grab just before the half, and also had the game-winning score in the opener vs. Navy.

Scout Breakdown by Dave-Te’ Thomas: Devin Smith is an exceptional “home run threat” who led the major college ranks with an average gain of 28.21 yards per reception in 2014, more than 3.5 yards per grab more than the second-place finisher. With four different players tossing passes to him since he arrived for 2014 fall drills, he’s made the most of limited passes targeted to him, hauling in 33-of-43 targeted tosses (77.74%), as just six players in the country had more than his 12 touchdown grabs.

His percentage of receptions for touchdowns (30-of-120) is 25.00%, the highest rate for an FBS player since Kevin Williams of Southern California set the major college standard of 35.29% (24 touchdowns on 68 receptions; 1977-80). He also holds the Big Ten all-time mark with a career average gain of 19.76 yards per catch.

Smith has outstanding size and speed for his position. He has the explosive second gear to threaten the deep areas of the secondary, but with his ability to shield the ball from defenders, he has been very effective turning the intermediate tosses into big gains. He uses his hands well to defeat the jam at the line of scrimmage and has the loose hips and crisp cutting ability to make the initial tackler miss and gain separation after the catch.

The Buckeye is very good at settling underneath, showing the balance and body control to make the shoestring grabs or extend to catch outside his frame. He is very flexible in his route progression, showing the stop and go action to instantly redirect. He has the valid burst to get on top of the defense and shows nice body control adjusting to the deep ball in flight. He has the hip flexibility to drop his weight and the balance to change his stride without having to throttle down.

Smith has very good speed, enough to rank with the elite in this draft class. He has good suddenness in his initial step and shows that explosive burst needed to outrun defenders coming out of his breaks. When he reaches top speed, he is capable of maintaining it. He consistently separates and uses his body well to extend for the long throw.

Smith On Being A Deep Threat: Speed is obviously a key point in releasing from the line. 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."

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