Devin Smith, a former second-round draft pick, has had a career full of injuries. Could he turn it around with the Dallas Cowboys?
After releasing wide receiver Allen Hurns late last month, there is now room for another receiver to earn some snaps for the Dallas Cowboys in the upcoming season. One strong candidate might be former Ohio State University standout, Devin Smith.
After being born and raised in Ohio, three-star recruit Devin Smith opted to stay in his home state and play at college football powerhouse Ohio State University. As soon as he hit the campus, Smith started making an impact immediately.
As a freshman, Smith hauled in 14 receptions, good for 294 yards and four touchdowns. The very next season, he doubled his production in many categories, catching 30 balls for 618 yards and six touchdowns.
In his junior season, Smith continued to be an excellent receiver for the Buckeyes, posting stats of 44 receptions, 660 yards, and eight touchdowns. Senior year, the Ohio native had a breakout season with 33 receptions for 91 yards and 12 touchdowns, which led the team. This was especially impressive considering he was playing alongside current Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and wide receiver Noah Brown. New Orleans Standout Michael Thomas was also on the roster at this time.
He finished his college career in an extremely strong way. Smith had four catches for 137 yards and three touchdowns against Wisconsin in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game. In his final college game, he hauled in two receptions for 87 yards and one touchdown in the 2014 Sugar Bowl against Alabama and current NFL defensive backs Landon Collins and Eddie Jackson.
Overall in his career, Devin Smith finished with a total of 121 receptions, 2503 yards, and 30 touchdowns. He was among the elite wide receivers heading into the 2015 NFL Draft. According to his NFL.com draft profile, Smith was known for being a speedy wide receiver who needed to polish his route running and learn to better use his hands:
“Smooth speed merchant with instant gas off the line. Has outstanding body composure and an effortless stride. Electrifying foot quickness. Game-breaking speed with necessary feel of a downfield receiver. Speed creates uncontested targets for him underneath … Lacks natural, soft hands … Shows a lack of patience in his routes. Game too heavily reliant upon speed.”
Heading into the draft, many analysts considered his NFL player comparison to being DeSean Jackson. He was ultimately drafted by the New York Jets in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft 37th overall.
In late November of his rookie season, Smith hauled in his first career touchdown against the Miami Dolphins. Just two weeks later, he suffered a season-ending ACL injury against the Tennessee Titans. This ACL injury dragged into the next season as well, resulting in Smith only appearing in four games in the 2016 season.
In the offseason prior to the 2017 season, he re-tore the same ACL. This second ACL injury resulted in Smith missing the entire 2017 season, followed by being released from the Jets in the summer of 2018. In January of 2019, Smith signed a reserve/future contract with the Dallas Cowboys and is now healthy enough to once again showcase his talent.
In the first preseason game of 2019 against the San Fransisco 49ers, Devin Smith had a great game leading the team with three receptions for 54 yards. Heading into the second game of the preseason against the Los Angeles Rams, Smith will continue to show he is worthy of getting valuable reps in the 2019 season with the Cowboys. If he can stay healthy, the second-round talent could find himself as a key piece, filling the void Allen Hurns left.
Overall in his career, Devin Smith has appeared in 14 games (three as a starter) totaling ten receptions for 135 yards and one touchdown.