With the 197th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Bengals took Fresno State safety Derron Smith to add to what was already a deep position on the roster.
Even with George Iloka, Reggie Nelson, Shawn Williams and Shilo Keo on the roster, getting Smith at this point in the draft was too good of a value for Cincinnati to pass on. A full-time starter for the Bulldogs the past three seasons, Smith 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.
Going into the draft, some (including our own Cody Tewmey and Joe Goodberry) had Smith projected as one of the top safety prospects and a possible late first-round pick. A key thing to know with Smith, which contributed to his fall in the draft was a sports hernia injury that plagued him throughout his senior year. If not for that, Smith likely would have gone a lot sooner than Round 6.
So, how did other experts rate Smith in their pre-draft rankings?
- NFL.com's Lance Zierlein had Smith rated as a "2nd or 3rd-round pick" while comparing him to Chargers safety Marcus Gilchrist.
- Smith was also the 83rd-overall prospect in NFL.com's rankings, two spots behind Ravens second-round pick Maxx Williams, three behind Steelers third-round pick Sammie Coates and seven sports behind Steelers second-round pick Senquez Golson.
- Mel Kiper had him 115th in his final rankings.
- Todd McShay ranked Smith as his 111th-best prospect.
- Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked him as the 99th-best prospect.
- Mocking the Draft had Smith as their 119th-overall prospect.
- CBS Sports had him ranked as their No. 110 prospect.
If you average all six of those rankings, Smith had a draft ranking of 106.17, meaning he should gone somewhere in the early-mid fourth round. Given the Bengals drafted him with the 197th pick in the sixth round, it shows they got very good value with Smith at this spot.