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Titans Select Florida International TE Jonnu Smith in 3rd Round
April 29, 2017 03:24 AM | Jim Wyatt
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Jonnu Smith got the question plenty from family and friends leading up to the NFL Draft:

Where are you headed?

Titans Draft Central

The Florida International tight end didn't know for sure, but he was hopeful he'd land in Tennessee, where he could play alongside one of his favorite players, on a team that treasures its tight ends.

Smith got his wish on Friday night when the Titans selected him in the third round.

"I feel great, I feel fantastic. I am feeling as great as you can be,'' Smith said. "People kept asking me, 'Who likes you? Who likes you?' And I kept telling them, 'I can't really tell. I can't really tell.' But for some reason I would always tell them one team, and it was always the Titans. I said, 'I think Tennessee loves me to be honest.'

"And I kept believing in that. I wanted to be there, man. Now, I am so excited to be with my new team."

Smith, who made a pre-draft visit to the Titans earlier this month, was the 100th overall pick of the draft.

During his visit to town, he spent a lot of time with coach Mike Mularkey, a former NFL tight end himself. Mularkey told Smith he likes to play physical in the running game, and passing game.

It was music to Smith's ears.

The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder has built his reputation for being a guy who can not only catch passes, but also lower the boom as a blocker.

"(I want people people) to say, 'That guy plays with a lot of grit when they watch me,'" Smith said. "No matter what it is, he is going to fight for every inch, every yard and he is a team player. He is willing to make every sacrifice he can for the team and will give 100 percent."

Smith said he's always admired Walker, who is coming off his second straight Pro Bowl season.

"Delanie, he is one of the guys most people would compare me to,'' Smith said. "We have the same similar build, carry the same skill-set. But Delanie Walker is Delanie Walker, and I am Jonnu Smith at the end of the day. At the end of the day nobody can bring what I can bring to the table and nobody can bring what he can bring. Everybody is their own player."

Smith can catch, too. He caught 178 passes for 2,001 yards and 18 touchdowns at Florida International, and tallied 42 catches for 506 yards and four touchdowns in 2016.

Smith holds the FIU record for career receptions (178) for a tight end, and he's also No. 1 all-time in career receiving yards.

"I hope we can find someone as productive as Delanie," Mularkey said when discussing Smith. "I think Jonnu is a guy we feel can compete and play not just an F, we are going to see if he is going to be a point player, point blocker. Certainly with his speed and his ability in the passing game, we hope that translates to what Delanie has done for us since he has been here."

Smith said he's ready to get to work for the Titans. He visited the Saints, Vikings, Dolphins, Eagles, Patriots and Rams during the pre-draft process, but reiterated one visit stood out.

"Coach Mularkey came in and said he loves the way I play the game,'' Smith said. "He feels like my game is what the Tennessee Titans pride themselves on - physicality. And he said that is what I bring to the table.

"I am so happy to be there, man. I am so excited to be with my new team."



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