D’Joun Smith had just completed graduation ceremonies at Florida Atlantic University when he received the call.
The Colts used the first selection in the third round, the 65th overall in Friday’s NFL draft, to select the 5-11, 190-pound cornerback from the Conference USA school in Boca Raton, Fla.
Smith (whose first name is pronounced like the mustard, Dijon) kept his cellular phone close during cap-and-gown ceremonies.
“It’s been crazy, man,” he said in a conference call. “I never watched the draft until this year. I’m sitting down and I’m just like, ‘Oh man, it’s so up and down.’ I’m happy I’m off the board. I can think straight. I can go to sleep at night.”
He earned a degree in communications.Player evaluation
The choice originally belonged to Tampa Bay, but the Colts traded the 61st pick to move down four spots in exchange for moving up in the fourth round to No. 109 from 128.
He joins a secondary that is set in terms of the first three positions. Cornerback Vontae Davis is the highest-paid player on the roster and made his first Pro Bowl last season. Cornerback Greg Toler is entering the final year of a three-year contract and nickel cornerback Darius Butler recently re-signed for two years and $5 million.
NFL.com reported three weeks ago that Smith improved his draft stock after a workout for Colts secondary coach Mike Gillhammer. The cornerback is highly regarded for his speed (4.4 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine) and athleticism. He was a team captain and defensive MVP as a senior.
And his statistics were even better during his junior season — he ranked No. 2 nationally with 20 passes defended.
“I’m happy, man,” he said. “Oh, I can’t even think straight, man. It’s a blessing. Thank you.”
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Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.