CHICAGO (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Jets had the need for speed, and got their man in the second round of the NFL draft.
Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith was selected with the fifth pick Friday, and 37th overall, giving the Jets an explosive pass-catcher who can stretch the field and blow past defensive backs. He’ll complement a receiving corps that includes Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley.
“It’s a team that I’ve watched over the years,” Smith said during a conference call from Chicago, where he attended the draft. “I’m at a loss for words, really. My family was right here with me and for them to experience it with me, man, it was unbelievable.”
The Jets, targeting a pass rusher, selected Louisville linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin in the third round with their pick, No. 82 overall, acquired in a trade with the Houston Texans.
The Jets sent the No. 70 overall pick to the Texans for wide receiver DeVier Posey and Houston’s third-rounder, fifth (No. 152) and seventh (No. 229) on Friday night.
The 6-foot-4, 244-pound Mauldin, a hybrid linebacker-defensive end, had 20 1/2 sacks in three seasons with the Cardinals. He gives coach Todd Bowles an edge rusher — one of the team’s projected needs heading into the draft.
“I’ll do whatever I have to do to get to the quarterback,” Mauldin said during a conference call.
Mauldin, from Atlanta, lived in 16 foster homes growing up and broke down while talking about what the moment meant to him.
“I’ve been thinking about this ever since I played wide receiver in Pop Warner,” Mauldin said, his voice cracking. “This is my chance to show everybody. … I’m going to work harder than hard.”
Despite trading for Marshall in March, and having two dependable receivers in Decker and Kerley, New York’s offense lacked a potential gamebreaker. The 6-foot, 196-pound Smith gives the Jets exactly that. He had 33 catches for 931 yards and a Big Ten-best 12 touchdowns during his senior season with the Buckeyes, leading the country with a school-record 28.2 yards per reception.
Smith made the highlight reels and became a Twitter sensation in 2012 when he made a spinning, one-handed grab — reminiscent of the Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. last season — for a touchdown against Miami of Ohio.
“I think (my speed) can really help a lot, stretching the field deep,” Smith said. “I really think I can help this team in that area.”
He caught four passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns in Ohio State’s 59-0 victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. Smith had one catch for 45 yards while helping the Buckeyes win the national championship game against Marcus Mariota and Oregon.
Smith, from Massillon, Ohio, finished his college career with 121 receptions for 2,503 yards and 30 touchdowns. He also returned kickoffs and punts while with the Buckeyes, and served as a gunner.
“I’m versatile,” Smith said. “You can move me inside, you can move me out. I’m also very good on special teams.”
He was also a star on Ohio State’s track and field team, finishing in a tie for second place in the high jump at the Big Ten outdoor championships last year with a personal-best 7 1/4-foot leap that ranked him in the top five in school history and qualified him for the NCAA regionals.
The Jets, under then-general manager John Idzik, drafted three wide receivers last year, but none made any impact. Jalen Saunders, a fourth-rounder, was cut just a few weeks into the season. Shaq Evans, also selected in the fourth round, spent the season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Sixth-rounder Quincy Enunwa was on the practice squad for all but the last game of the season.
Posey was a third-round pick of the Texans out of Ohio State in 2012, when new Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan worked in Houston’s scouting department. Posey has 22 career catches for 272 yards and no TDs, but played in just one game last season.
With the No. 6 overall selection Thursday night, New York drafted Southern California defensive lineman Leonard Williams.
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