Ohio State WR Devin Smith Compares His Game to Jeremy Maclin

One of the top receiver prospects in the upcoming draft spoke with us on Tuesday

After winning a national championship less than two weeks ago, Ohio State standout receiver Devin Smith hasn't had much down time.

He's currently one of the shining stars through the first couple days of Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Alabama, where the best of the best collegiate players are competing in front of all 32 NFL teams.

As a senior for the Buckeyes, Smith finished with 33 receptions for 933 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns, averaging a ridiculous 28.2 yards per catch.

It's his deep-threat ability that's created a buzz at the Senior Bowl.

When asked what player he compares his game with, Smith mentioned former Missouri Tiger and current Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin.

"How smooth he is when he runs routes, it kind of reminds me of myself a little bit with how natural it looks," Smith said.

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Maclin, who's scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the current league year, would be one of any number of veteran receivers Smith would look forward to learning from when he joins an NFL team later this spring.

"I think being around any receiver that's been in the game for a while that's had great success, I think would be a blessing to be right behind him and learn from them," he said.

Smith is joined by 14 other receivers competing at the Senior Bowl, and every one of them is trying to impress the more than 1,000 NFL personnel guys in Mobile this week.

One person who has been impressed by Smith this week is NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, who believes Smith would be a good fit with the Kansas City Chiefs. 

"Devin Smith from Ohio State would be a great fit with this Chiefs offense," Jeremiah said. "It would help them get somebody that can really vertically stretch the field, open it up for everybody else. He compliments the running game. He spent his time running a lot of underneath routes out here, but you put on the tape and watch him blow by people. He's got elite speed.

"I think he'd be a beautiful fit in Andy Reid's offense."

While making big plays in college is one thing, Smith believes his ability to make plays down the field will translate to the NFL.

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"I think my ability to go get the ball and being able to track the ball in tough situations is a strength of mine," Smith said. "I think that's one skill that I've embraced over the years and I think I could take that to the next level."

Smith led the NCAA in average yards per reception this season at 28.2, so his ability to make big plays isn't in question.

But because so many of Smith's routes were vertical, go-routes at Ohio State, Smith needed to show his ability to run a full route tree at the Senior Bowl this week, which is something NFL Network's Charles Davis noted.

"Most of these college guys don't run very many route trees," Davis said. "It's not their fault. It's just the way the [college] offenses are designed."

Davis continued with what he looks for while scouting receivers.

"I want to see them try and be sharp and precise in their cuts," Davis said. "A lot of them are thinking as they run right now because they haven't run those types of routes before. Devin Smith's a great example. A lot of what he did at Ohio State was to take off and go deep.

"I thought his route running was pretty good [this week] and I think he's wanted to show he can run the shorter underneath routes, the outs, the slants, the digs, things of that nature, because we didn't see much of that at Ohio State.

Photos of Ohio State WR Devin Smith

"I think he's been impressive."

While it's easy for Smith to get caught up in the "right now" as he impresses those watching him at the Senior Bowl, he doesn't shy away from acknowledging the help and support he's had along the way to get him to this point.

"All my coaches from when I was six years old playing midget football and all the way up to high school, all my coaches believed in me," he said. "I think the biggest thing for me was my family just sticking with me through the tough times. It didn't matter if I have a good game or a bad game; they were just there with a big smile on their face. I couldn't ask for more."

With the NFL Draft a little more than three months away, Smith knows what that day will mean to not just him, but his family as well.

"I think it's going to mean the world to them," Smith said. "It's very important for me to keep representing my last name and my family the right way."

When asked what his goals were for this week, Smith made it simple.

"I just want to leave a lasting impression," he said. "I want all these teams to go back to their offices and talk about Devin Smith, so that's what I'm looking forward to doing. "I'm here to compete and I'm ready to learn."

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