Smith entered his redshirt sophomore season as hardly a blip on the national radar, rushing for just 134 yards over his first 13 games at the collegiate level. While the focus was on quarterback Ryan Nassib, Smith emerged as a star, exploding for 1,171 yards - the fifth highest total in Syracuse history. With Nassib moving on to the New York Giants, opponents were able to key in on Smith and his statistics suffered in 2013. While he rushed for "just" 914 yards, his importance to the Orange offense was clear as he was named a team captain as a redshirt junior and saw touchdowns jump from three during his breakout campaign of a season of a year ago to 11 in 2013. While he does not possess ideal lateral agility to elude or straight-line speed, Smith's bowling ball-like frame and surprising downhill burst could make him a very intriguing option for zone-blocking teams.
STRENGTHS: Possesses a compact, powerful frame with broad shoulders and a thick lower half. Very good vision. Attacks holes when they are there but also possesses the vision and patience to attack cutback lanes, showing the ability to plant either foot and push off forcefully, generating more burst than his square-ish frame would indicate. Deceptive speed. Sets up blocks well, including when in the open field to turn five-yard gains into chunk plays. Isn't afraid of contact, lowering his shoulder to meet defenders and keeping his legs churning to fight for additional yardage. Willing blocker in pass protection. WEAKNESSES: More than the sum of his parts. Doesn't possess the top-end speed to pull away from defenders and can be caught from behind. Doesn't always wrap the ball with both hands while going through the line of scrimmage and had one fumble on tape viewed (Penn State, 2013). Does not possess ideal lateral agility to make defenders miss in tight quarters. Hasn't been a featured element in the passing game with just 16 receptions in 39 career games with the Orange. COMPARES TO: Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins - Morris has emerged as one of the league's best young backs since landing in Washington with the No. 173 overall pick of the 2012 draft, showcasing the vision and ability to plant and drive so critical for success in Mike Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme. Smith will have to be equally fortunate to land with a club that fits his style so well but he possesses a similar frame and game and in the right scheme could also prove a steal. --Rob Rang
05/13/2014 - Falcons Add 20 College Free Agents: Jerome Smith, 6-0, 226 pounds, finished his career as one of Syracuse's top rushers, ranking 13th on the school's all-time rushing list with 2,219 yards. He rushed for 914 yards on 200 carries with eight touchdowns in 2013 and ranked second in the Big East with 1,171 yards on 227 carries in 2012. Smith is a native of Bear, DE and attended Pencader Charter School where he earned third-team all-state and first-team all-conference honors after rushing for 1,334 yards and 16 touchdowns on 193 carries while posting 36 tackles and four sacks as a senior. - Atlanta Falcons