JBB Draft Profile: Derron Smith, FS, Fresno State, Potential Third Round Steal

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Aug 30, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans receiver Adoree Jackson (2) is tackled by Fresno State Bulldogs defensive back Derron Smith (13) at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Derron Smith is a 5th-year senior from Banning, CA who is now in his third season playing in Tim DeReuyter and defensive coordinator Nick Toth’s aggressive 3-4 system at Fresno State. Smith has started every game at free safety for the Bulldogs since the start of his redshirt sophomore season, and compiled 13 interceptions through the 2012 and 2013 season for a career total of 14, the most for any returning FBS player entering the 2014 season. Smith was named first team all-Mountain West Conference in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and last year led the Mountain West in interceptions with seven. He has been on the preseason watch list for a number of prestigious awards both last year and at the beginning of this season, including the Walter Camp Award, Jim Thorpe Award, and Chuck Bednarik Award.

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  • He has managed some of his best performances in some of Fresno State’s biggest games. In a losing effort against USC in last years’ Las Vegas Bowl, Smith had 18 tackles and an interception returned for a touchdown. In Fresno State’s Mountain West Championship Game victory over Utah State, Smith was named the defensive MVP of the game, recording six tackles, a sack, an interception, and a key pass defense. He was Fresno State’s second-leading tackler in each of the past two seasons, and recorded eight tackles for loss in 2013. With 58 total tackles on the year – including 10 in a season-opening loss to USC – Smith again ranks second on the team in tackles, though he has yet to record an interception as opponents have found ways to exploit a very weak Fresno State defensive unit and avoid Smith in the passing game.

    Smith has managed to catch the attention of draft analysts ahead of the 2014 season, ranked the top safety prospect in the 2015 draft by both Mel Kiper and CBS Sports, the latter of whom has him ranked as the 53rd-best prospect in the 2015 draft overall. He is ranked as low as 6th among safety prospects by WalterFootball.com, but the general consensus is that Smith will be a 2nd or early 3rd round pick in the draft, although his stock may be slipping due to the the decline in his productivity in the passing game and the poor performance of the Fresno State defensive unit this season. All of which could put him in the third round, a place where current Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has had great success in finding gems in Sio Moore (2013) and Gabe Jackson (2014)