2023 NFL Draft: Gamecock cornerback hears name called Friday night

2023 NFL Draft

Cam Smith was the first South Carolina football alum taken in the 2023 NFL Draft as he was picked with the 51st overall pick by the Miami Dolphins. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina football is no stranger to having defensive backs selected in the NFL Draft. Since the year 2000, the Gamecocks have had 21 defensive backs drafted. The trend continued in the 2023 NFL Draft as corner Cam Smith was picked in the second round by the Miami Dolphins (Round 2, Pick 20; 51st overall). Smith was the 6th cornerback taken in the draft and was the first Gamecocks selected.

A graduate of Westwood High School, Smith was a high 4-star recruit who picked South Carolina over teams like Clemson and Georgia. During his four years in Columbia, Smith developed into one of the top cover corners in the nation and made two All-SEC teams. His hip fluidity, above-average length, and above-average sprint speed made him an ideal NFL corner prospect.

Now a member of the Dolphins, Smith will be given every opportunity to compete for a starting role, though it will be different than most corners selected in the first two rounds of the draft. His experience as a nickel corner earlier in his college career could prove extremely valuable as Xavien Howard and Jalen Ramsey are going to be the starters on the outside. Smith likely will battle with Kader Kohou and Nik Needham for the primary job in the slot.

An added benefit for Smith in heading to Miami (other than being, you know, Miami) is that he will have the opportunity to learn from two of the game’s best corners in Howard and Ramsey. If Smith can continue developing and win the starting nickel job, the Dolphins might put together the top passing defense in the National Football League.