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Chuck Pagano's Trip To D'Joun Smith's Pro Day Sold The Colts Head Coach

Intro: When the Colts first met D’Joun Smith at the Combine in February, they were blown away by the presence from the Florida Atlantic cornerback.





INDIANAPOLIS – The contingent assembled served as a strong indicator of the Colts interest.

Having two assistant coaches at a Pro Day, for a team that won a combined 13 games the previous four seasons, was a bit of an eyebrow raiser.

Oh, Chuck Pagano was there, too?

A trio of Colts coaches, all with plenty of history instructing defensive backs, took in the Florida Atlantic Pro Day back in April and the man in charge came away shaking his head at the player that had their attention.

"The energy that (Smith) brought to that entire day, just in the weight room, he could have stood on his numbers alone from the combine and just done position specific drills with us that day," Pagano said of Smith's Pro Day on April 2. "The great competitors they see the guys going and get juiced up. They get amped up, he jumped right in there and did (21) benches. He was the guy leading everybody cheering his teammates on.

"Great competitor, then we put him through all the position drills. Great change of direction, great feet. Good hips, can high point the ball locate the ball, good ball skills. He's wired the right way to play out on the island the way we ask guys to play. He loves that challenge."

From Pagano's first meeting with Smith, the Colts head coach saw a presence necessary to survive at the cornerback position.

Frequently isolated away from nine or sometimes 10 of his defenders, a corner might as well have a "confidence level" prerequisite to play in the NFL.

"Playing that position, you don't want a meek kind of milk toast type of guy sitting there," Pagano said.

"This sucker (Smith) was on the edge of the seat in his (Combine) interview. When he came in, like Ryan (Grigson) said, it was all business. This guy truly believes. At the time when we asked him who the best corner in the draft (was) coming out he said, 'It's me.'"

Smith talked after his selection at the top of third round about how he models his game after Darrelle Revis (for his coverage prowess) and Charles Woodson (for how he processes routes).

In playing for four different coaches during his tenure at Florida Atlantic, Smith tries to look at the positives of being exposed to different systems and an assortment of roles that were asked of him.

This past season, Smith battled a fall camp shoulder injury, which forced him to sit out any kick return duties at the start of the year.

His first action as the team's kick returner came in late October. Smith wasted little time influencing the game in another way.

Smith's 202 kick return yards against Marshall were a school record and an area that could be an early avenue for playing time with the Colts.

When Pagano made the trip to FAU for Smith's Pro Day, he prodded around different people to double check if what the head coach saw at the Combine was real.

"I talked to Charlie Partridge, the head coach down there, and (Smith) was the first guy in the building," Pagano said. "They'd leave the practice field and the lights were still on and they'd look out their offices, their windows overlook the practice field, and there'd be a guy out there still working. So he'd go out there, and (Partridge) had to kick (Smith) off the field.

"This kid will not fail, Lord willing, the creek don't rise and he stays healthy and all that stuff. He's a grinder. He's got that mentality that he can be, and he will work to be one of the best that plays that position."

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