The Baltimore Ravens ended the 2010 season with more questions than answers. Though Joe Flacco took another big step in becoming the franchise quarterback the Ravens are looking for, he has yet to join the class of the elite. As age begins to creep in for a few key positions in the roster, Ozzie Newsome and the Baltimore Ravens have a tough task ahead of them. The Ravens hold the 26th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. But make no mistake about it, the Ravens are looking for Pro Bowl gold.
The Ravens have made a living on late picks in the first round. From Todd Heap to future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, the Ravens love picking around this portion of the first round. It gives them low risk and extremely high reward. Based on the mock draft, the Ravens will have a very interesting choice to make. But there should be no doubt that if CB Jimmy Smith is available with the 26th pick, the Ravens will lock him up faster than you can say “shutdown corner.”
That isn’t to say WR Torrey Smith won’t be on the back of Ravens’ fans minds. But the thought of such a selection isn’t warranted. Torrey Smith is a talent. Of that there is no question. But he is a second round talent. He has questionable route running skills and he falters in press coverage. The Ravens could use Torrey Smith, but they don’t need him. They already have a top 5 WR in Anquan Boldin. And sources say that David Reed will be a star in Baltimore. But more than anything else, the Ravens will not draft him because he isn’t the best player available.
Which brings us to Jimmy Smith. The Colorado superstar is a top 10 talent. He is a physical, speedy, press coverage corner. This caliber of cornerback doesn’t come along everyday. The Ravens haven’t had this type of player since Chris McAlister. This comparison isn’t all sunshine and gum drops. In contrast, this is the exact reason he will fall in the first round, instead of in the top 10 where a team could use a talent such as his. Like McAllister, Smith has character issues that may cost him dearly.
Failed drug tests as well as arrests for possession of alcohol as a minor plague the young corner. Coach John Harbaugh has a no nonsense attitude. This style cost McAllister is career. If Smith has not cleaned up his immature lifestyle, his time in Baltimore will be extremely short. But enough of the negative. The simple fact is Jimmy Smith will be a huge addition to the Ravens secondary. With Foxworth’s injury concerns and Washington’s inability to keep his man in front of him, Smith should be a nice change of pace.
If Smith can erase his character issues, he will be the Ravens next late pick Pro Bowl selection. If he can’t, he will be traded in his third year. Only time will tell.
For more about the 2011 NFL Draft, be sure to check out the hornface.com NFL Mock Draft.