Dallas traded up a few spots to take Cincinnati defensive back DeAngelo Smith,Â gaving up the 156th and 210th picks to the Falcons to move up.Â Â DMN’s Tim McMahon reports, “The 5-11, 194-pound Smith made 12 career interceptions, including eight in 2007. He was clocked at 4.50 in the 40 at the combine. Smith started 28 games for the Bearcats (23 at corner, five at free safety).”Â The guess is he’ll be a safety in the NFL.
Smith teamed with Mike Mickens to form one of the elite cornerback tandems in college football. The two combined for 26 interceptions during their careers together, more than any other active duo in the NCAA in 2008. Always known for his outstanding hands, the right cornerback added a new wrinkle to his game as a senior taking over full-time punt return duties to add to his resume that included handling the bulk of kickoff return chores as a junior.
While not the celebrated tackler that Mickens is, Smith is a top-notch pass defender, breaking up 21 passes as a two-year starter. He ranks tied for second in school history with 12 interceptions and set the Bearcats’ single-season record with eight pass thefts in 2007, ranking second nationally in that category. He also collected 179 yards in returns, the fifth-best total in Cincinnati annals, as his two touchdown returns are good for a third place tie in school history.
Causing problems for opposing quarterbacks is commonplace for Smith, who registered 11 interceptions, returning five for touchdowns, en route to earning All-State first-team honors as a senior at Independence High School. He closed out his career with 20 pass thefts, returning seven for scores.
Smith also caught 14 touchdown passes and totaled seven punt or kickoff returns for scores as a senior. He earned first-team All-City and All-District honors. He was named to the Columbus Dispatch-Agonis All-Star team, as he helped the team to a regional finals appearance in the state playoffs.
Smith enrolled at Cincinnati in 2004, spending the season on the scout team. The Bearcat Academic Honor Roll selection appeared briefly in seven games, mostly on special teams in 2005, finishing with one solo tackle. He was the top reserve at both cornerback positions in 2006, recording 23 tackles (17 solos) with three pass deflections, a pair of interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He made the most of his opportunity in his only game as a starter, earning Big East Player of the Week honors after posting six tackles and returning an interception 84 yards (fourth-longest return in school history) vs. Rutgers. He also gained 65 yards on four kickoff returns that campaign.
Smith took over right cornerback duties as a junior, coming up with 49 tackles (39 solos) that included 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He caused and recovered two fumbles, as he also deflected eight passes. His eight interceptions set the school single-season record and led the Big East Conference while ranking second in the nation. He also amassed 296 yards on 12 kickoff returns (24.7 avg), earning second-team All-Big East recognition.
In 2008, Smith was chosen All-Big East third-team. He started all 14 games, picking up the leadership slack in the secondary when Mickens was sidelined late in the season. He broke up 10 passes, intercepted two others and caused a fumble. He also had 53 tackles (36 solos) with 3.5 stops for loss. His versatility proved invaluable, as he lined up at free safety for the first five games before returning to his more familiar right cornerback spot for the rest of the schedule. He also averaged 9.5 yards on 23 punt returns.
Attended Independence (Columbus, Ohio) High School, playing football for head coach Alan Jones…Registered 11 interceptions, returning five for touchdowns en route to earning All-State first-team honors as a senior…Closed out his career with 20 pass thefts, returning seven for scores…Also caught 14 touchdown passes and totaled seven punt or kickoff returns for scores as a senior…Earned first-team All-City and All-District honors…Named to the Columbus Dispatch-Agonis All-Star team, as he helped the team to a regional finals appearance in the state playoffs.
Positives: Aggressive, adequately-sized corner with long arms and confidence. … Stays low in his pedal and flips his hips open well. … Good hands for the interception when closing forward on the ball. … Attacks quick screens behind the line of scrimmage, will throw his body into the tackle. … Has played some free safety when needed and also returned kicks. … Works hard to improve his game.
Negatives: Fits best in a zone system where he can see the play in front of him and close on the ball. … Plays near the line at times but does not get his hands on receivers. … Gambles to get to the ball. … Only adequate straight-line speed. … Has trouble adjusting to the ball in the air and making the interceptions when moving backward. … Has a tough time getting off wide receiver’s blocks due to his lack of size and upper-body strength. … Gets turned around easily. … Lacks the suddenness to handle quick slot receivers. … Not a physical tackler. … Whiffs on attempts to cut tackle because he ducks his head. … Questionable ball security, decision-making and speed as a punt returner.
Scouts, Inc. says,
Overall Football Traits Production 3 2004: Cincinnati red-shirts Smith. 2005-06: Smith starts one of the 20 games he appears in. He records a total of 24 tackles and intercepts one pass. Smith also returns four kickoffs for a total of 65 yards in 2006. 2007: Smith starts all 13 games accumulating 49 tackles and ties for the FBS-lead in interceptions with eight. He returns 12 kickoffs for a total of 296 yards. 2008: Smith starts all 14 games accumulating 53 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, two interceptions, 10 passes broken up and one forced fumble. He returns 23 punts for a total of 219 yards. Height-Weight-Speed 4 Height and bulk are adequate but top-end speed is below-average. Durability 1 Durability is not a concern to our knowledge. Character 3 Member of the Bearcat Academic Honor Roll during the fall of 2006.
Defensive Corner specific Traits Recognition Skills/Toughness 3 Reads keys and locates the ball quickly. Instinctive and seems to understand how offenses are trying to attack the coverage.Â Can line at corner or safety and can play man or zone coverage. Does not shy away from contact and has good upper body strength but could be more aggressive in run support. Gambles at times and vulnerable to double moves. Can get pushed around by bigger receivers despite being tough for size. Closing Burst 3 Can plant back foot and drive out of backpedal when a receivers catches the ball is caught in front of him but doesn’t show the same kinfd of burtst .Â Marginal recovery speed and going to have tougher time overcoming false steps in the NFL. Fluidity 3 Quick-twitch athlete that has fluid hips and can change directions in an instant. Can turn and run with receivers smoothly but isn’t fast enough to run with most NFL receivers. Allows too much separation when playing off man and appears more comfortable playing close to the line of scrimmage. Ball Skills 3 Can snatch the ball out of the air. Has adequate leaping ability, times jumps well and flashes the ability to highpoint the ball. Extends arms and shows a good sense of timing when breaking up passes but doesn’t track the ball well enough. Run Support 4 Does a nice job of going low and chopping ball carriers legs out from under him but misses the occasional open field tackle and not a big hitter. Needs to shed or slip blocks quicker.
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