Odell Beckham's one-handed catch last season against the Cowboys was something special. But Devin Smith knows of an even better one: his own.
"I was at a friend's house when I saw that and everyone started tweeting me like, 'Devin did it first! Devin did it first!' So it kind of reminded me a little bit of what I did," the Jets' rookie wide receiver said Saturday. "I thought it was great. It was nice."
Two years before the Giants' Beckham almost broke the Internet with "The Catch," Smith made his own eye-popping end-zone grab in Sept 2012 against Miami (Ohio). The former Ohio State receiver can still visualize it: Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller launching the throw from the 28-yard line; the high trajectory of the ball; and the defensive back tracking it in vain.
"It was just a simple go-route," Smith said of his 23-yard touchdown catch, which put Ohio State ahead in the second quarter.
"At first, when the ball was in the air, I was like, 'Aw man, this is about to go over my head.' And once it started getting a little closer, I thought maybe I could go get it. And the only thing I could do was just throw up that one hand and I caught it."
The speedy Smith made it look easy -- plucking the ball in midair with his right hand before he fell to the ground in the back of the end zone. And when he finally got to his feet, he could think of only one thing: "I hope I make Sportscenter's Top 10," he said with a laugh.
So whose one-handed grab was better -- his or Beckham's?
"Probably mine," Smith said, smiling.
And just like in college, Smith is "absolutely" certain he can be a home run threat for the Jets.
"Obviously, I can do deep. I can stretch the field. [I have] big-play ability, not just on offense but on special teams as well," said the second-round pick. " . . . I felt whatever team picked me I was going to be able to fill that role. So I'm looking forward to it."
Some draft experts have likened him to Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson. But others have labeled him a one-trick pony, citing his vertical speed as his only asset. Smith's current jersey choice -- No. 84, which previously was worn by Jets' draft-bust Stephen Hill -- also has conjured up bad memories among Jets fans. But he said he isn't worried about the naysayers or his ability to be a complete receiver in the NFL.
"I really don't worry about it cause I know how good I am," said Smith, who signed his rookie contract on Friday. "I wouldn't be here, obviously, if I couldn't do anything . . . The offense that we ran [at Ohio State], we wanted to take our shots and go deep so that's what we did."
Jets coach Todd Bowles said on Friday that Smith "needs some route work," as do most of their young pass-catchers. But it's far too early to assess the rookie's progress.
"It's about understanding the offense right now. And they're not going to get it in two days," Bowles said Saturday, following their second rookie minicamp practice. "But he's a tough kid, he's smart, he's a hard-worker, which is what I like about him. And we'll see going forward what he does."
Smith isn't yet sure how he'll be used on offense or how much. But he's confident his game will improve after spending time with veteran receivers Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley.
"It makes it a lot easier when you have guys like that," he said. "They can tell you everything that's helped them be successful and how to beat press coverage and how to get open. So I'm looking forward to just learning from those guys."