With the 27th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, former Colorado Buffaloes CB Jimmy Smith was selected by the Baltimore Ravens. We talked about a great situation for Nate Solder protecting Tom Brady in New England, if you are a defensive player, there are two places you want to play - the Baltimore Ravens or the Pittsburgh Steelers. Going to the Ravens is a great situation for Jimmy Smith who is a top 10 talent who will be surrounded by defensive leaders like Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed. The Ravens will demand Smith play at a high level and I think he will respond.
A big reason Smith's stock dropped was some off the field issues early in his career. If he can stay out of trouble, he has the opportunity to be a great player.
Jimmy Smith has long been thought of having first round talent starting as a sophomore. He started all 13 games as a junior but didn't always show the consistency on the field needed to play in the NFL until his senior season. The past year saw Smith dominate the opposition, hardly ever getting challenged. He was named first team All-Big 12 by the coaches. But when the season ended, no one could have guessed his draft status would rise as much as it has. Possibly chalk it up to being on a bad team his five years at Colorado. The 6'2" 205 pound corner from Colton, California is currently flirting with a top 15 pick. NFL draft analyst Todd McShay has even mentioned that Smith might be the second best corner behind LSU's Patrick Peterson. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper mentioned that once scouts looked past the success of the team Smith played on, they realized no one tried throwing on Smith:
"Smith is a late riser, a good player on a bad team and a guy who got less attention partly because quarterbacks wouldn't put a ball near him this past season," Kiper wrote. "But the film is stacking up now, and it proves why NFL personnel are really high on him. The final test for Smith will be whether he grades out well in Indianapolis. Based on what I know, he will, and he offers the Lions the cornerback help they need without having to sacrifice on value at this stage in the draft."
Cubuffs.com notes that Smith only allowed 11 completions in the 25 games he started since starting as a junior. Smith's level of play as a senior and the 6'2 frame as a corner has scouts drooling. Many believe he has the physical ability to match the strength of top flight receivers like Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall. Throw in the fact that Smith ran a 4.35 forty last spring and it is easy to see the increase in attention.
More from cubuffs.com on Jimmy Smith:
Jimmy Smith: One of the top defensive backs in the country, he garnered first-team All-Big 12 honors from the league coaches (honorable mention from the Associated Press); he was only thrown at about 20 times in man coverage (allowed just one touchdown, by Texas Tech), and he did have five passes broken up, but he had no interceptions which likely hurt him when it came to All-America honors. Phil Steele's College Football and collegefootballnews.com also recognized him as a first-team Big 12 performer, and he garnered first-team All-Colorado honors from the state's chapter of the NFF. His teammates selected him as the recipient of the Dave Jones Award as CU's most outstanding defensive player. He started all 12 games at right cornerback, and was CU's defensive player of the week for the Hawai'i and Georgia games (five tackles in each game, and three touchdown saves among them). In the Hawai'i game, he had one of CU's plays of the year, chasing down a UH receiver from at least 20 yards from behind, saving a score (the Warriors failed to score on the possession. For the second straight season, he had the exact same tackle count of 70 (third highest on the team, with 52 solo) with five PBU's, four tackles for zero, a forced fumble, one recovery, and a team-best five touchdown saves. He had a season-high 12 tackles at Oklahoma (10 solo), including a third down stop, and had five or more tackles in each of the last 10 games. He was one of 35 players on the official preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award (did not advance), presented to the nation's top DB (won on two occasions by former Buffaloes). He was a preseason third-team All-Big 12 selection by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele's College Football; collegefootballinsiders.com tabbed him as a preseason honorable mention All-American. The third fastest player on the team with 4.35 speed in the 40-yard dash.