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Ohio State Buckeyes WR Devin Smith's NFL draft stock on rise


Ohio State cruised to a win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game Saturday night, and Buckeyes WR Devin Smith once again showed why NFL scouts are so excited about him. He was the star of the game, making four grabs for 137 yards and three touchdowns.

With Cardale Jones making his first career start at quarterback, Smith, a senior, stepped up and helped the sophomore get comfortable in short order. Smith (6-foot-1, 199 pounds) is big, fast and physical. He has great ball skills to go up and get it. All of those attributes were on display Saturday night.

I don't see him going any lower than the second round of the draft, and I look forward to taking a closer look at him during the lead-up to the draft.

Smith isn't mentioned in the same category as guys like Alabama's Amari Cooper, Louisville's DeVante Parker and West Virginia's Kevin White. Smith might not be as well-rounded as those players, but he's a gifted vertical receiver and has a lot of good tools to work with as he prepares to develop his game for the next level.

Here are my observations on some of the other top players I had a chance to watch Saturday night.

Clean game for Winston

Florida State QB Jameis Winston was a little more careful with the ball Saturday night than he has been for much of this season. He had one forced throw in the red zone in the second half of the Seminoles' win over Georgia Tech, but other than that, he did a nice job of taking what was there and being efficient.

He's had some unbelievable moments this season, but Saturday was one of the cleaner games he's played.

No downgrade for Gordon, despite loss

Wisconsin was shut out in a blowout loss to Ohio State and Melvin Gordon was held to 76 yards on 26 carries, but I still saw him do a nice job with what he had to work with, which wasn't much. That's not a game that should lead anyone to change their mind about his NFL potential. I didn't need him to put up huge numbers again. He's already proved he's a gifted player.

Greene reminiscent of NFL's Sanders

FSU WR Rashad Greene was solid again on Saturday, making seven catches for 123 yards and two TDs against Georgia Tech. For a guy that's not that big (6-0, 180), he has the toughness to work the middle of the field. His draft grade will largely depend on his measurements and how fast he runs in drills, but he's probably penciled in as a third-rounder by most evaluators at this point.

He's like Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders in that he's a clean route runner with good quickness and lacks great size.

Bennett shows class, impressive play

It was cool to see Ohio State defensive lineman Michael Bennett honor his fallen teammate, Kosta Karageorge, by wearing Karageorge's jersey number (53) on Saturday. Bennett was dominant at the line of scrimmage vs. Wisconsin and showed his power as a pass rusher.

Erving on the right track

Moving from left tackle to center has revitalized Florida State OL Cameron Erving's draft stock. He never really seemed comfortable at tackle, but he's moving defenders at the point of attack from the center position. I don't know if he'll play center in the NFL -- he could slide to guard -- but he's showing he has the potential to be a very effective interior lineman at the next level.

O'Leary an intriguing prospect

FSU TE Nick O'Leary made a couple of big-time catches vs. Georgia Tech and finished the night with three grabs for 97 yards and a TD. I think he'll be a nice addition for some NFL team next year as a mid-round pick. He has a great feel for working in zones and really good hands. We've seen the Ravens' Kyle Juszczyk show he can catch the ball as a fullback. I think O'Leary could play a similar role. He's a versatile player.

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.

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