2011 NFL Draft Grades: Jimmy Smith and the Baltimore Ravens

Nick SeroCorrespondent IIIApril 29, 2011

BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 07:  Wide receiver Jeff Fuller #8 of the Texas A&M Aggies makes a reception against the defense of Jimmy Smith #3 of the Colorado Buffaloes during NCAA college football action at Folsom Field on November 7, 2009 in Boulder, Colorado. Colorado defeated Texas A&M 35-34.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It was a little confusing how they made their pick, but the Baltimore Ravens addressed their need for a cornerback with their first round selection, cornerback Jimmy Smith out of Colorado.

The Ravens struggled at the cornerback position throughout the entire 2010 NFL season, yet still ended the season with one of the best defenses in the league.

Adding a solid, contributing cornerback was not only a necessity, but it could have been the key to getting Baltimore over the hump and into the Super Bowl.

The Ravens were on the phone for the entirety of their time selecting the 26th overall pick. Apparently they were on the phone with the staff of the Chicago Bears trying to make a trade to move back a few picks and to pick up a draft pick later on in the draft.

The Ravens took too long to get their pick in and instead were jumped by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Currently, the Ravens are appealing for the Bears fourth round selection, blaming the Bears for causing them to lose their pick at 26th. If the Ravens do end up getting the Bears fourth round pick, this could have been a very productive mishap for the Ravens.

Jimmy Smith was always at the top of their big board and they were still able to draft him; throw in a compensatory fourth round pick and the Ravens have lucked out in a big way.

The Ravens selecting Smith may have been the best selection of all four AFC North teams in the first round. The Ravens and the Bengals were the only teams to be able to take their first choice and fill a hole on their roster.

The Browns were able to select a defensive tackle, a position they wanted to draft for, but you would think they had their eyes on high prospects like Nick Fairley or Marcel Dareus while still sitting at No. 6.

Smith can bring a lot to the Ravens, but that will all depend on whether he keeps his nose clean and out of Goodell's doghouse.

When grading Jimmy Smith, the first the thing that stands out is that he has the perfect size and speed to be an NFL cornerback, as well zero durability concerns coming out of college. His production was very hard to argue, as he put up at least 70 tackles in both years as a starter.

Smith isn't afraid to get involved in run support and will fit in nicely with the hard nosed—if not mean—defenders in Baltimore.

Smith is very confident in his ability, and it isn't him just being cocky. Smith knows what he is doing out on the field and won't get caught biting on run fakes too often. He's at his best when up on the line playing man-to-man.

Smith is a great cover man as he may have the best hip movement of the three cornerbacks drafted in the first round. Smith's ball skills are above average as well.

He will come down with the interception if he can get a hand on the ball, and he could get even more dangerous under Ed Reed's tutelage.

Smith gets a solid A from me here. I am not going to bring up his past at this point, because we already know about the baggage he will bring to Baltimore. If there is anyone that can get Smith on the straight and narrow it would be Ray Lewis, so Smith gets a clean slate with me starting right now.

The Ravens themselves lucked out and to have Smith fall to them. Likely they could have traded back the Bears and still been able to draft Smith, which would have been ideal.

They weren't able to move back with the Bears, likely for their fourth round pick. Instead they will appeal to the NFL and demand that fourth round pick considering the Bears caused them to drop a spot.

Right now, I give the Ravens an A for sticking to their board and taking Smith. If they can somehow get Chicago's fourth round pick here as well, they will get an A+.