1) Introduction: D.J. Smith will forever be tagged as the undersized inside linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. Selected in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, scouts considered his height to be a significant drawback. Up until his injury this season, he has provided some solid depth for the Packers.
Darryl Devon Smith, Jr.
- Age: 23
- Born: 02/24/1989, in Charlotte, NC
- Height: 5’11″
- Weight: 239
- College: Appalachian State
- Rookie Year: 2011
- NFL Experience: 2 years
3) Expectations coming into the season: When D.J. Smith, as a rookie, got the opportunity to start in place of Desmond Bishop last year, he showed some flashes that instantly got fans excited. He seemed to defy the critics of his stature, showing a nose for the ball and some sure-handed tackling. When Smith became the full-time starter in 2012, again due to injury by Bishop, fans weren’t overly concerned about his ability to take over the role. They expected him to perform close to the same level, especially with a year under his belt.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: He didn’t get any sacks, fumbles, or interceptions, but D.J. Smith played his heart out against the New Orleans Saints. He defensed three passes and only allowed 30 yards on four receptions, one of which accounting for 23 of those 30. Obviously, Smith’s low point of the season was when he blew out his knee against the Houston Texans. After just six games, the Packers were suddenly down to their third-string inside linebacker.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Being on injured reserve didn’t allow D.J. Smith to contribute much for the final 10 games of the regular season, but in all fairness, he wasn’t quite the player we were expecting him to be. Smith struggled in coverage, allowing 14 of 21 targets to be caught for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He sometimes got lost in the shuffle against the run, but he was a fairly sure tackler. His blitzing was the better part of his game, though he relied more on timing and speed than overcoming individual blockers.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Absolutely nothing, due to injury.
Season Report Card:
(C-) Level of expectations met during the season