<
>

Bengals rookie factoids: Derron Smith's defensive touchdowns

39m

CINCINNATI -- As the Cincinnati Bengals' rookies take part in this week's voluntary organized team activities (OTAs), it's a good time to look at some of the things they do well.

We've spent the past few days breaking down one statistic connected to each player's college career.

First-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi's run-block efficiency, second-round pick Jake Fisher's uptempo background, third-round pick Tyler Kroft's first-down and touchdown production per reception, third-round pick P.J. Dawson's interception return yards, fourth-round pick Josh Shaw's tackles for loss, fourth-round pick Marcus Hardison's sack numbers and fifth-round pick C.J. Uzomah's receiving efficiency have all been explored. You can read each factoid here.

Up next: sixth-round pick, safety Derron Smith and his defensive touchdowns:

2

One of the more impressive parts of Smith's backstory is he was a true ball hawking defensive back in college. While at Fresno State, he intercepted 15 passes in 43 career games. The high point came during his sophomore and junior seasons, when he intercepted 13 passes, averaging one pickoff every two games.

Versatile and athletic, he could be used in a variety of ways at either safety position now that he's in the NFL. While the Bengals very clearly want to have players on their roster who can create turnovers, they also would like secondary additions who can simply cover players well -- interceptions or not -- and generate good pressure on quarterbacks during pass-rush situations, and play the run well in back end run support. There is a belief that although he'll be down on the depth chart behind Reggie Nelson, George Iloka and Shawn Williams, Smith can still provide a lot of that.

Back to the turnovers Smith did generate at Fresno State. The number 2 above represents his number of career defensive touchdowns. One came in a win and the other in a loss to Southern Cal, but both were key plays, regardless.

The first happened in November 2012 when Smith's Bulldogs were facing Nevada. After giving up a first-quarter touchdown to the Wolf Pack, Fresno State's defense was looking for a way to keep its team back in the game early.

Barely three minutes into the second quarter, Smith intercepted a pass and raced 34 yards for a touchdown that broke a 7-7 tie, and that started to help Fresno State ultimately pull away. Smith's interception return for a touchdown was the first of three defensive scores Fresno State had in its 52-36 win. Tyeler Davidson and Travis Brown both recovered fumbles and scored.

Smith couldn't quite create that same defensive domino effect a year later when he ran back a 41-yard interception for a score during the Las Vegas Bowl. With Fresno State trailing 38-13, on just the second play of the fourth quarter, Smith caught an errant pass thrown into the middle of the field that he took back for the score. Momentarily, it looked like the Bulldogs might have life. Ultimately, however, they ended up losing, 45-20.

Although the second score didn't have the impact the other did, it still showed how much of an impact Smith could have in swinging a game's momentum. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Smith's Bulldogs were 11-4 in games in which he had an interception.