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Christopher Smith II is driven to be consistent but not complacent

When you put on the tape and watch Chris Smith II, you can see the hard-hitting power in his game.

It makes sense considering the defense he played in for five seasons collegiately. Smith is a two-time national champion with the Georgia Bulldogs, a key piece of one of the more dominant defensive units in college football history. The past two seasons, the Bulldogs went 29-1 and allowed 12.2 points per game. Smith was one of five defensive players from Georgia selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The First Team AP All-American compiled 68 solo tackles, six tackles for loss, nine pass deflections and six interceptions across his last two seasons on the championship-winning roster. To go along with his aggressive play style and ballhawk skills, a great attribute the Raiders' fifth-round pick brings to Las Vegas is a winner's mentality.

"First and foremost, I think the main component to continuing to be a winner is consistency," Smith said after being drafted by the Silver and Black. "And that was something that was really built into us at University of Georgia. Also, not being complacent once you feel like you've made it, just stopping and not continuing to keep going. That's a recipe for disaster. ... That's something I learned very early on at University of Georgia, and I think it translates well to the NFL."

The safety was high on the Raiders' draft board as the team traded up to pick 170 to select him. Ziegler believes Smith's measurables at the Scouting Combine might've played a factor in him sliding to the fifth-round in the draft last weekend. Regardless, it was hard for Raiders brass to deny his ability while evaluating college film.

"Chris relies on his instincts and awareness to make plays on the football. He's a student of the game," Ziegler said. "He has a very unique ability, I would say, just to pattern read and look at a route concept and how it develops out of the snap and make some reads that able himself to be in position to make plays on the football. Also, a physical kid, not the biggest in stature.

"When you look at Chris Smith and you just read the numbers ... I don't think he ran a super-fast 40, he's not a super big guy. But when you put on the tape, he's a guy that impresses you."

Smith is equally as excited to get to Las Vegas as the people that drafted him are to see him arrive. While his lifelong dream of being drafted by an NFL team has come into fruition, he's now focused on reaching a higher level of success professionally.

"I feel I can improve on all areas," said Smith. "Taking this next step to the NFL is just a whole different ballgame. You're going up against grown men now and it's going to take a betterment in each part of my game to continue to be the best player I could be."

With the 170th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders selected safety Christopher Smith II.

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