AP Photo
April 30, 2016

(STATS) - Considering Ryan Smith played only one year of high school football, it was easy for FBS programs to overlook his skills.

With the way he developed in college, though, the NFL was not going to miss on the defensive back from North Carolina Central.

On Saturday, Smith became his MEAC school's first NFL draft choice since 2007 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected him in the fourth round with the 108th overall selection.

"I think they want special teams. They like my quickness, my burst and my attitude on the field," Smith said. "When they called, they had told me they're going to start me at safety. It's no big deal. Hey, I'm in there."

Since the start of his college career, the late-developing Smith has added over 30 pounds to his 5-foot-11, 189-pound frame. Mostly at cornerback, he made 42 career starts, helping the Eagles to a share of conference titles in his final two seasons.

Smith set N.C. Central's all-time record with 168 solo tackles, adding seven interceptions and 24 pass breakups. He is considered to have excellent foot work, which allows him to be consistent in turning and running with his wide receiver.

He was N.C. Central's first participant at the NFL combine since 1989.

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