The Green Bay Packers have signed Utah wide receiver and returner Shaky Smithson to a deal Monday night, kicking off the undrafted free agent signing period that followed today’s agreement on a new CBA.
Smithson was scouted throughly by the Packers pre-draft, as he was one of 12 players who made an official visit with the Green Bay before April’s NFL draft. At his pro day in Utah, Smithson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds, the 20-yard dash in 2.71 and the 10 in 1.65. He also put up 10 reps at 225 pounds and had a vertical leap of 30.5 inches.
Shaky Smithson College summary
Smithson is listed as a receiver but he made his name at Utah as one of the more dynamic returners in the NCAA. While he started just four games on offense and caught only 25 passes for 383 yards his senior year, Smithson’s 19.1 yards per punt return and four 100-yard punt return games led the nation.
He also returned two punts for touchdowns and was 24th in the nation in kick return average (24.1 yards). His 2010 totals on punt returns broke the Mountain West record for a season. For his efforts, Smithson was named second team All-Mountain West in 2010.
Smithson is an electrifying return man, but the Packers drafted Randall Cobb in the second round and it’s widely believed that he’ll be the main returner on both punts and kicks. If Cobb has a larger role in the offense than previously expected, Smithson could be asked to be the primary returner. The Packers have been desperate to help their return game for the better part of a decade.
But like any undrafted free agent, Smithson has to be considered a long shot to make the team. He won’t contribute much as a slot receiver, and the Packers haven’t generally kept players who are one dimensional on the roster. Unless Smithson has developed some kind of offensive game, that’d be exactly what he is.
In all likeliness, Smithson will need a terrific camp and some errors from Cobb in the return game to warrant a roster spot.
Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.