Tyreke Smith is getting his opportunity to show what he can do in the NFL.
The former Ohio State defensive end heard his name called in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, when he was selected by the Seattle Seahawks with the 158th overall pick.
A 6-foot-3, 255-pound edge rusher, Smith becomes the fifth Buckeye selected in this year's draft, joining Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Nicholas Petit-Frere and Jeremy Ruckert. He is the first defensive player from Ohio State off the board in this year’s draft, the first time since 2012 that Ohio State has not had a defender selected in the first four rounds.
Smith‘s selection marks the fifth straight year Ohio State has had at least one defensive end picked as Jonathon Cooper was selected in 2021, Chase Young was chosen in 2020, Nick Bosa was drafted in 2019 and Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes were all taken in 2018.
Across a four-year tenure at Ohio State, Smith had an up-and-down career for the Buckeyes. He totaled only eight sacks in his Buckeyes career: three in 2019 and 2021 and two in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season. But he played a key role in Ohio State’s College Football Playoff semifinal win over Clemson in 2020 and was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2021 after he registered 26 tackles (five for loss), two pass breakups and three sacks in 10 games.
Smith declined an opportunity to use his additional year of eligibility to return for a fifth year at Ohio State, deciding to bet on himself and declare for the NFL draft following Ohio State's 2021 season.
“I feel like this year was the year I was ready to come out,” Smith said in March. “A lot of people asked why I didn't come out last year, but I feel like I just needed one more year with the brotherhood, seeing all my brothers every day and just pushing them and letting them push me, so it was great.”
Smith believes his best football is still in front of him, and he’ll now get the chance to show that at the next level as he’ll look to establish himself in the Seahawks’ pass-rush rotation.
The Seahawks drafted Smith to play an outside linebacker in their defensive scheme, which uses a similar “Leo” position to that which Jim Knowles is bringing to Ohio State’s defense in 2022, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told Smith that his primary job will be to rush the passer.
“We want you to be an edge rush guy,” Carroll told Smith.
Smith is currently the only former Buckeye on the Seahawks’ roster.