Baltimore Ravens

Stadium: M&T Bank Stadium | Coach: John Harbaugh
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense26th83.0 (28th)224.4 (16th)
Defense12th105.4 (9th)230.1 (13th)

Ravens roll the dice with Smith

The Sports Xchange
 
Ravens roll the dice with Smith · Strategy And Personnel · Notes, Quotes
 

The Ravens made one of their riskiest first-round picks in team history when they selected Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith. Interestingly enough, Baltimore sweated more before the pick than after it.

While on the clock for the 26th overall pick, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome had contacted the NFL that Baltimore had completed a trade with Chicago, which would allow the Ravens to move back to No. 29 while picking up the Bears' fourth-round pick. After Chicago failed to confirm the trade with the league, the clock ran out on the Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs made the pick at No. 26.

The Ravens quickly ran up their card to take Smith, a talented cornerback with a troubled background, at No. 27.

"This guy, he's a special player," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "He's exactly the type of corner that we're looking for. He fits our defense just the way we need him to fit our defense. We think he's got a good heart. We think he's very committed to being a great football player, and we're going to do everything we can to help him be that. This guy makes us better."

Smith reportedly flunked three drug tests at Colorado, and he informed one team that one was for misusing codeine. He also told teams about two alcohol-related arrests and an arrest for third-degree assault in a restaurant.

According to Smith, he hasn't been in trouble in two years.

"It's all past decisions and bad mistakes," Smith said. "They are done with and over with - a long time ago. I'm looking, from here on out, to be the best player and person on and off the field that I can be."

Harbaugh said he was convinced about Smith's character after spending two hours talking to him during his pre-draft visit.

"What I like about Jimmy (is he) came right out from the beginning and has been forthright with everything that's happened to him," Harbaugh said. "He's had a lot of situations. He didn't try to hide anything. He put it all out there for the whole world to see. He's going to have to deal with that, and we're going to have to deal with that."

Cornerback was one of the Ravens' top priorities in this draft. One starter (Chris Carr) is an unrestricted free agent, and the other (Josh Wilson) is a restricted one. Domonique Foxworth, a starter in 2009, is coming off knee surgery that sidelined him all of last season, and nickel back Lardarius Webb is a season removed from the same operation.

All four of those corners are under 6-0, and none weighs more than 192 pounds. Adding size would allow the Ravens to play more press coverage and match up better against physical receivers.

Smith's size - he's 6-2 - is one of the first traits that attracted the Ravens to him last fall.

"In the end, we felt like he was the best pick for us," director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said. "He makes us a lot better. He tackles well, he's got great coverage skills, he's a big kid, he matches up well against the receivers in our division."

When the Ravens were looking to trade back, they thought they could move back, pick up an additional pick and still draft Smith. Newsome contacted the NFL with three minutes left on the clock, but the Bears failed to complete the trade.

Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo said he called Baltimore to apologize.

--Living up to their reputation, the Ravens enjoyed another successful draft by landing two picks with first-round grades (cornerback Jimmy Smith and wide receiver Torrey Smith) along with a possible starter at right tackle (Jah Reid).

The biggest criticism is their inability to draft a pass rusher. The Ravens set a team record for fewest sacks in a season with 27 last season. This will be a priority when free agency begins, according to general manager Ozzie Newsome.

BEST PICK

Cornerback Jimmy Smith: He is a top-15 talent who should start immediately and can develop into a shutdown cornerback. His size, speed and attitude are reminiscent of Chris McAlister, a former Pro-Bowl cornerback for the Ravens. Baltimore expects Smith to become the latest playmaker to its defense.

COULD SURPRISE

Wide receiver Tandon Doss: The Ravens asked Joe Flacco to scout a selected group of six wide receivers expected to go in the middle rounds, and the quarterback came back with Doss as his top pick. He's the prototypical possession receiver who works the underneath and finds holes in zone defenses.

A closer look at the Ravens' picks:

Round 1/27 - Jimmy Smith, CB, 6-2, 210, Colorado

Smith landed near the bottom of the first round because of several red flags that included three reported failed drug tests and two alcohol-related arrests. The Ravens believe their locker room can handle Smith, who is the clear-cut No. 3 cornerback in the draft.

Round 2/58 - Torrey Smith, WR, 6-0, 205, Maryland

Smith became the first wide receiver taken by the Ravens in the first two rounds since Mark Clayton in 2005. He gives the Ravens what their wide receiver group lacks: speed and the ability to stretch the field. Smith projects to be Baltimore's No. 3 wide receiver this season.

Round 3/85 - Jah Reid, OT, 6-7, 330, Central Florida

It was a surprise that Reid was selected this high because he was projected as a fifth- or sixth-round talent. But the Ravens traded a sixth-round pick to move up in the third round to get the first team All-Conference USA player.

Round 4/123 - Tandon Doss, WR, 6-2, 200, Indiana

The Ravens selected one of the most sure-handed receivers in Doss. He has been compared to T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and he could be taking Houshmandzadeh's spot on the roster.

Round 5/164 - Chykie Brown, CB, 5-11, 190, Texas

A roommate of Sergio Kindle at Texas, Brown is a slender cover man who had just two interceptions at Texas, both in his junior year. He could develop into a nickel back.

Round 5/165 - Pernell McPhee, DE, 6-3, 280, Mississippi State

Considered a raw prospect, McPhee didn't play football until his senior year of high school. He has a high motor and is a powerful tackler.

Round 6/180 - Tyrod Taylor, QB, 6-1, 217, Virginia Tech

The ACC Player of the Year says he's the most dynamic quarterback in the draft. The Ravens need depth at quarterback because backup Marc Bulger isn't expected to return. Taylor has potential to be a slot receiver or returner.

Round 7/225 - Anthony Allen, RB, 6-1, 230, Georgia Tech

Allen is the big-bodied back that the Ravens need to replace Willis McGahee, who is scheduled to get released before the season. He lacks breakaway speed, but he grinds out yards between the tackles with his size and bulk.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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