Smith was drafted in the first round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys and became the starting left cornerback late in his rookie season, helping the team win their first Super Bowl since the 1970s. In his second season, Smith’s confidence, natural ability, consistency and intelligence earned him a place with the elite defensive backs in the NFL. That year he led the Cowboys with six interceptions and teamed with Larry Brown to form the youngest set of starting cornerbacks in the NFL. In 1994 he led the team with 17 passes defended.
Smith was well on his way to stardom with 39 consecutive regular-season starts, until his career was de-railed when he tore his achilles tendon in the first game of the 1995 season against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. Although the Cowboys were already in discussions to possibly sign the flashy free agent cornerbackDeion Sanders, the move went from a luxury to a need and Sanders was signed the following week. While recovering from the injury, Smith appeared in a Nike commercial with Sanders, using crutches and playing the role of "The Gipper".
In 1996 he regained his starting position and teamed with Sanders to form one of the strongest corner combos in the NFL. That season he had 5 interceptions and established a career-high with 18 passes defensed.
Including 1998, Smith led the Cowboys in passes defensed every year he was in the league, except 1992 (rookie season) and 1995 (missed due to injury). He ended up winning 3 Super Bowls in his first 4 seasons.
In 1999 he reported to training camp with a back injury and never got on track. He missed eight games because of the back and other problems that stemmed from it. Smith's final season was in 2000, retiring after hurting his knee during training camp. He played nine seasons in the NFL, intercepting 19 passes and returning one for a touchdown.