Jerome Smith signs with the Falcons

Jerome Smith signs with the Falcons

Jerome Smith was not drafted, but found an NFL home quickly after the 2014 NFL Draft wrapped up on Saturday. He discussed the process and his excitement to start his professional career with CuseNation.com inside.

The 2014 NFL Draft concluded on Saturday, with a few former Syracuse players failing to hear their name called. Among those was running back Jerome Smith.

He did not spend his day glued to the television, however.

"I was actually in graduation for most of the day," Smith said. "I started graduation and was hanging out with my family. They got up here. Periodically during graduation I would peek down at my phone and check who was getting taken.

"Eventually, I just got the mindset that if it doesn't happen, I've been here before. I've been the underdog. I've had the chip on my shoulder. I'm from Delaware so I've had that chip on my shoulder."

After the last pick was in, Smith heard from a few different teams. He weighed his options and picked the opportunity that he felt was the best for his professional future.

"I had about four or five," Smith said. "I kind of had my mind made up after I looked at a couple of teams' depth charts. I rolled with the team that I thought I had the best chance of being able to play in the future and make the team."

While the Falcons were selected by Smith because of his perceived ability to crack their roster, it didn't hurt that college teammate Marquis Spruill was drafted by Atlanta in the fifth round. He will have a family feel on the roster with Spruill and another friend.

"It definitely makes it a better story that he's there," Smith said. "I actually have a friend who I train with at home, Paul Worrilow. He was an undrafted free agent for them last year and now he's a starting middle linebacker for them.

"I had to go to a situation where I can play soon. I have an opportunity to play behind Steven Jackson. I think I can learn a lot from him."

The Bear (Del.) native finished his Syracuse career with 2,219 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns (12 during his senior campaign). Despite not being drafted, Smith is maintaining a positive attitude with his future still in front of him.

"I know everybody doesn't get drafted, but that's not the end of the road for me," Smith said. "A running back I really like a lot is Arian Foster. He didn't get drafted so that gives me life.

"If you work hard and do what you're supposed to do, you can make it anywhere."

Smith says he expects to make the Falcons roster, but understands how much work it will take to do so. The hay is never in the barn after all.


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