The Colts' first pick in this year's NFL Draft received a lot of attention as wide receiver Phillip Dorsett was taken in the first round, but the Colts' next pick in the draft hasn't received nearly as much attention. In the third round, the Colts grabbed cornerback D'Joun Smith, a player they really liked, but so far he hasn't been able to see the field yet in his NFL career.
Smith was with the Colts in training camp and in preseason, so he technically has played for the Colts. But he was injured in the preseason and, after missing the team's week one game against the Bills with the knee injury, he was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return. That put him out for half of the season, as the IR-DFR rules state that you can return to practice after six weeks and return to games after eight weeks. Smith was activated from the list on Monday and is eligible to play for the first time in an NFL regular season game this Sunday as the Colts take on the Falcons in Atlanta.
Head coach Chuck Pagano said today that Smith will indeed play, saying that Smith is "ready to roll" and that Pagano is "looking forward to seeing him play."
It's important not to have too high of expectations for Smith right away, as he did struggle some in training camp and preseason. That's not surprising or abnormal for a rookie, but we have to remember that he is only a rookie who has missed the first half of his rookie season and will be making his NFL debut on Sunday, so expecting him to come in and immediately play better than Greg Toler and replace him in the lineup is unrealistic (some fans think he can and should). With all of that said, however, it will be interesting to watch Smith play for the first time and now he can really begin to develop and adjust to the NFL level. He's a guy with a lot of potential and the Colts really like him and his versatility, and this Sunday we'll get to see him in an actual game for the first time.