Character issues aside, the Baltimore Ravens are getting some praise for drafting former Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith at No. 27 overall. On the field Baltimore is a getting a potential top-10 talent at an important position late in the first round.
Add Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. to the list of experts who like the pick. Williamson recently tweeted Smith has the potential to win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2011. This week we caught up with Williamson to explain.
Matt, break down your recent prediction that Smith will win Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
SmithWilliamson: I'm uncharacteristically backtracking a little, but I will tell you why. I think with Jimmy Smith, when you think about the Defensive Rookie of the Year, cornerbacks rarely win that honor. If you're a great corner, people stop throwing at you. So it will probably be difficult for Smith to win that award. But I did say afterward that I think Smith will have the best rookie season of any defensive player, and I mean that. He's not going to get a ton of tackles, he's not going to get many sacks and interceptions are tough to count on. So to say that a corner is going to win Defensive Rookie of Year isn't a real smart thing to say. But I love the fit. I think he will immediately be their No. 1 corner. He's the Chris McAlister-type they needed. He had no business lasting that long in the draft. I don't worry about the character stuff, especially in his first year when he's trying to impress everybody and get acclimated in that locker room.
The Ravens made an interesting point that Smith will help their pass rush. In what ways can that happen?
Williamson: If the Ravens can trust Smith, they can bring another linebacker or a safety blitz or the opposite corner without a lot of fear. They can put Smith on the No. 1 receiver and he's going to do pretty well. And, by the way, Baltimore also has Ed Reed roaming around and eliminating any other issues. So, yeah, I don't think Baltimore is loaded with pass-rushers. But Smith will very much help the pass rush.
Finally, what are your thoughts on the Nnamdi Asomugha comparisons? Fair or too much too soon?
Williamson: Comparisons are rough. In general I'm not a fan of them, because no one compares these players to somebody bad. Mark Ingram is the next Emmitt Smith. Well, Emmitt Smith has rushed for more yards than anybody ever, and Nnamdi is the second-best corner in the league. Does Jimmy Smith have that kind of ability? I would say yes. I think he is more physically gifted than Prince Amukamara and he's right there with Patrick Peterson as the most gifted corners in this draft. He has the size, the speed, the hips -- he really has it all. So in terms of just physical gifts, putting Smith against Nnamdi, they're not that far off.