The Cincinnati Bengals liked what they saw from Chris Smith when he was a 2013 second-team All-SEC defensive end with the Arkansas Razorbacks. And they liked what little they saw of Smith after he was drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
So, when they had the opportunity to make Smith a part of a defensive line that proved to be lacking in 2016, the Bengals did not hesitate to give up a conditional 2018 draft choice – probably a seventh rounder – earlier this year to bring him into the fold.
It marked the first non-draft trade for the Bengals since April 2012, when they traded linebacker Keith Rivers to the Giants for a fifth-round selection. Cincinnati selected safety George Iloka, who has proven to be a mainstay of the Bengals’ secondary. In 2010, the Bengals made another trade with the Jaguars that netted the safety Reggie Nelson, who went to a pair of Pro Bowls with the Bengals before moving on the Oakland Raiders last year.
Smith, at 6-foot-1 and 262 pounds, never got much of a chance to showcase his skills with Jacksonville as he played in only 19 games through his first three seasons in the NFL. During that time, he amassed just 16 total tackles and one forced fumble. His 4.5 sacks, though, is the same number credited to fourth year Bengals defensive end Will Clarke through 35 games.
The Bengals added a pair of quality pass-rushers in this year’s draft in Kansas State’s Jordan Willis and Auburn’s Carl Lawson, and it looked like Smith would have his work cut out for him to crack the 53-man roster, let alone compete for playing time. But Smith is determined…
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