Former cornerback D’Joun Smith tests well at 2015 NFL Combine


Michelle Friswell

DJ Smith returned an interception for a touchdown in a win over Tulsa last season. Photo by Michelle Friswell

Josue Simplice, Sports Editor

Former FAU cornerback D’Joun Smith was the only Owl in attendance at this year’s NFL Combine, and he stood out through the day. Smith finished in the top 15 of the 40 yard dash, bench press, three-cone drill, 20 yard shuttle, and 60 yard shuttle. By many accounts, he displayed the athletic ability needed to play cornerback at football’s highest level.

His times:

  • 4.45 in the 40 yard dash
  • 18 reps on the bench press
  • 6.96 seconds in the three cone drill
  • 4.26 in the 20 yard shuttle
  • 11.80 seconds in the 60 yard shuttle

For comparison’s sake, the average 40 yard dash time for a cornerback from 2008 to 2012 in the NFL was 4.5 seconds, and Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu — considered by NFL analysts to be a mercurial young defensive back — only benched 225 pounds four times at the 2013 NFL Combine.

The NFL Combine grading system ranks a player’s chances of succeeding in the NFL based on a scale of no grade to a 7.49. Smith earned a 5.61 grade, which gives him a chance of becoming an NFL starter.

There were 335 players invited to the combine, 53 of which were defensive backs. Coming into the NFL Combine, scouts had questions about Smith’s top-end speed. His NFL Combine profile says that he “lacks long speed, and could be targeted for double moves.”

Smith did not have an amazing year statistically his senior season because of how he performed his junior year in 2013. Teams did not throw his way because of his seven interceptions in the 2013 season which was second best in college football that year. He also deflected 20 passes, good for second in the nation.

This past year he only posted one interception and just eight passes deflected because of the ballhawk reputation which he garnered in the previous year.

One NFL scout told, “Smith shines in two areas… essential for the league: the ability to function at a high level after making mistakes and the talent to turn into a wide receiver and play the ball in orbit.”

After his performance in the Senior Bowl and combine Smith is projected as a mid-round selection [third to fourth round]. has him ranked as the sixth best cornerback in the 2015 NFL Draft class.

The NFL Draft begins on April 30 and ends on May 2.

Josue Simplice is the sports editor at the University Press and can be contacted at @josuesimplice on Twitter and [email protected] by email.