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2015 NFL Draft profile: Fresno State S Derron Smith

Injuries and a leaky defense in front of him led to a drop in the eye-catching statistics in 2014, but plenty of NFL teams should find use for his capabilities.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Derron Smith, Safety, Fresno State Bulldogs

5'10", 200 pounds

Mocking the Draft position ranking (as of March 31): 7

Mocking the Draft overall ranking (as of April 9): 119

Strengths: You don't grab fifteen interceptions at the FBS level, a Fresno State record, without a fair amount of playmaking ability and a gift for keeping an eye on the quarterback. His field vision benefits him both before and after he gets his hands on the ball, since he has a knack for both breaking downhill to grab passes and finding space for big returns once he does; he averaged just under 20 yards per INT return and scored twice. That same willingness to get downhill and get physical could serve him well in man coverage against inside receivers.

Weaknesses: Smith's 4.61 40-time at Fresno State's pro day was a beat slower than the figures put up at the NFL Combine in February by those who are ranked ahead of Smith, save for Mississippi's Cody Prewitt. His vertical leap (34 inches) would also have placed him near the bottom of that same group; combined with his sub-six foot stature, it could be suggested he will have trouble dealing with bigger targets (think athletic tight ends) on the next level. He often overextended himself when things broke down in front of him last year, as well, which contributed to some unsightly angles on tackle attempts. He acknowledged as much before the pro day, that his tackling would need improvement.

The caveat, however, is that Smith played the entirety of 2014 with a hernia injury. This is what caused him to miss both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. Perhaps ironically, former Fresno State quarterback was limited by the same ailment during his junior season; he rebounded, of course, to have a prolific senior year and eventually became one of the steals of last year's draft.

Projected Round: 4

Projected Likely Destination: Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, San Diego Chargers