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NFL Draft 2015: Fresno State S Derron Smith selected by Cincinnati Bengals

The Bulldogs' star safety waited a long time to hear his name called, but he now finds himself in an ideal situation to compete for a role.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With the 197th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Fresno State Bulldogs safety Derron Smith. Smith is 5'11" and 200 pounds, and he was rated as both the seventh-best player at his position and the 119th-best player overall, according to Mocking The Draft.

2014 proved to be an injury-plagued disappointment for Smith, as he played through a hernia injury which may have sapped his effectiveness while the rest of the defensive backfield struggled to come together. He had 93 tackles in his senior campaign, second-best on the Bulldogs and tops among defensive backs in the Mountain West, and just one interception, though he did lead the nation with an FBS-best 14 picks across the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Smith also showed some potential in the return game, averaging 11 yards per return in a small sample.

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.

You can read our more comprehensive scouting report on Derron Smith here.

In heading to the Queen City, Smith joins one of the most underrated defenses in the NFL. The Bengals secondary is perhaps slightly deeper at corner than at safety, however, where Reggie Nelson and George Iloka are currently listed as starters, but Smith could find his way to playing time in slot coverage in addition to competing for snaps at his natural safety position.