On the final day of rookie mini-camp Monday, no one felt better than cornerback Tremon Smith, on and off the field.
Smith consistently broke up passes in drills, flashing the speed and agility that led the Chiefs to select him in the sixth round of the NFL Draft last month.
Later in the day, Smith became the first of the team’s six draft picks to sign a contract, a four-year deal worth $2.6 million.
The Chiefs also signed five tryout players who attended camp: center Tejan Koroma from Brigham Young, linebacker Rob McCray from Indiana, Villanova cornerback Malik Reaves, Oklahoma wide receiver Jordan Smallwood and Georgia Tech cornerback Step Durham.
Smith was strong throughout the camp. Perhaps he believed he had something to prove as the only Chiefs draft pick who didn’t attend a SEC or ACC power. Smith was a standout at Central Arkansas in the Football Championship Subdivision.
He had an opportunity to become a preferred walk-on at Auburn. Instead, Smith, who was an all-state quarterback as a high school senior, took the Central Arkansas offer and began his career in the secondary.
“At first, I was asking my defensive coordinator — he was the one who recruited me — to get me on the offensive side and least have a package,” Smith said. “In the long run, I started learning my position, the ins and outs of cornerback. I fell in love with it real quick.”
He became a FCS All-American and a three-time All-Southland Conference selection and credits some of that success to his experience to playing offense, quarterback and wide receiver.
“In the ninth through 11th grades I played receiver,” Smith said. “I was able to go to the high point of the ball. I knew when I went to defense I wanted the ball in my hand. I missed having the ball, and it just made me more hungry, wanting to be a playmaker.”
Smith satisfied that hunger as a return specialist and hopes to get that chance with the Chiefs.
“A lot of rookies make their names on special teams so I’m willing to do whatever takes,” Smith said.