Penn State offensive tackle Donovan Smith is in Chicago for the NFL draft.
Although an NFL draft advisory committee gave him a return to school recommendation because they didn't project him to be picked within the first two rounds, the Owings Mills graduate's stock is on the rise after declaring early for the draft. Smith graduated from Penn State with a degree in criminology.
While Smith is still regarded as unlikely to go in the first round, he believes he has a solid chance of going in the second or third round, during the second day of the draft.
"I'm embracing it all and going with the flow," Smith told The Baltimore Sun in a telephone interview. "I can't complain about anything. I'm feeling good about how everything is looking for me. I've gotten a lot of great feedback from NFL teams."
Juan Castillo has been in frequent touch with Smith via phone and text messages.
At Penn State, Smith dealt with the hardships of sanctions against the program stemming from the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Joe Paterno's death and the coaching change from Bill O'Brien to James Franklin.
"It made me into the man I am today," Smith said. "I learned to go through adversity. It taught me life is not easy. You have to be able to adjust and adapt. It definitely taught me a lot."
In talking to NFL teams, Smith said they primarily project him as either a left tackle or right tackle.
"I can play every spot except for center," Smith said. "I can play four out of five positions. That's the only one I haven't learned yet."