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Bengals sign Derron Smith to rookie contract

Derron Smith is slated to spend a year backing up Reggie Nelson and/or George Iloka before competing for a starting spot in 2016.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have signed their sixth-round draft pick Derron Smith, the team announced Tuesday. Smith is the second of the Bengals drafted rookies to sign a deal with the team after Mario Alford signed this past weekend.

Smith, a full-time starter for the Bulldogs the past three seasons, registered 187 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 14 interceptions over his three year college career at Fresno State. He had 13 picks from 2012-13 playing free safety, but that number declined to one after he moved to strong safety in 2014. He also played some slot cornerback.'s Lance Zierlein had Smith rated as a "2nd or 3rd-round pick" while comparing him to Chargers safety Marcus Gilchrist:

Lacks ideal size for the position, but checks off just about every other box teams will be looking for. Smith's ability to match up in space against slot receivers and his willingness to get downhill and tackle will be coveted. Smith must learn to play under control as a tackler, but he should have a shot to come in and compete for a starting-safety or slot-corner job quickly.

To get Smith in the sixth round was arguably the best value pick Cincinnati had in this year's draft. He's now slated to spend a year backing up Reggie Nelson and George Iloka before competing for a starting spot next year when Nelson and Iloka become free agents. Smith will also likely be a special teams contributor in 2015.