COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Prior to last year, Ohio State had a defensive end drafted in the first or second round in three-straight years.
The only OSU defensive end drafted in 2021 was Gahanna native Jonathan Cooper who was picked by the Broncos in the seventh round. There will likely only be one Buckeye edge rusher drafted again this year as well in Tyreke Smith who’s projected to be selected early in the fifth round.
During his four years in Columbus, Smith learned from two of the best defensive ends to ever come through Columbus in Chase Young and Nick Bosa.
Playing opposite of Young in 2019, Smith started four games and played in 11, recording 12 tackles, including five for a loss and three sacks. It was arguably his best season at Ohio State, due in no small part to the attention Young demanded from opposing offenses.
Smith earned honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2020, playing seven games but only tallying eight tackles and one sack. He returned to his sophomore year form in 2021 when he played 10 games with nine starts. He was voted second-team All-Big Ten with 26 tackles, including five for a loss and three sacks.
Defensive ends don’t start nine games at Ohio State if they’re not good enough. Smith earned his playing time at OSU by using his lanky frame (33 1/4″ arm length) to get around defenders. He’s a high-motor player who was not injury-prone during his time in Columbus.
Smith has spent the past four years learning from the best — defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Smith does the little things well, including pad level and timing his movements at optimal moments, so his knowledge and training from Johnson give him ahead start against other defensive ends in this year’s draft.
Smith is tall but his lower body isn’t as strong as others who are considered the best at defensive end. His length can be an advantage, but his height can negatively affect him when it comes to being throw off-balance on first contact. Smith is considered slow off the snap and doesn’t have the drive power necessary to make up for that deficiency.