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Mock Draft Spotlight: Colorado CB Jimmy Smith

Smith is big, fast and productive. But do character concerns outweigh talent?

Posted by Ryan Mink on Thursday, March 31st, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Categories: 2011 NFL Draft, Mock Draft Spotlight, Ryan Mink

There are few questions about Jimmy Smith’s talent.
 
The Colorado cornerback is big (6-foot-2, 211 pounds), fast (4.46 40-yard dash) and productive. His opponents showed the ultimate sign of respect, throwing his way just 20 times last season.
 
“If Jimmy Smith’s there [at No. 26], you’re getting a top 10 to 15 talent," said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, who has Smith headed to Baltimore in his latest mock draft.
 
But there’s one troublesome issue with Smith, which could push him to the back end of the first round or perhaps beyond – character.
 
Smith tested positive on a drug test in 2007 and had two arrests for possession of alcohol as a minor, according to Pro Football Talk, and Sports Illustrated reported that teams were concerned about his “truthfulness and failure to take direct responsibility for his alleged transgressions” after his private combine interviews.

Reportedly, “a number of teams” have removed Smith from their draft boards.
 
“It’s obvious everybody knows I made some mistakes,” Smith said after his pro day on March 9. “People think I have bad character, which I think is a misconception because I think it’s bad decisions, not bad character.
 
“When I go talk to the teams, it’s a situation. It’s just me explaining to them I was young, made some immature mistakes, but I’m past that now. I’m ready to be a professional.”
 
If Smith is indeed ready, he has a high ceiling. There have been several comparisons, including from CBSSports’ Pete Prisco, to former Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister, who went to three pro bowls.
 
Smith’s a press cornerback, adept in man coverage, who would add a different element to a Baltimore secondary, which doesn’t currently have a player that hits 6-foot.
 
He has shown a competitive streak on the field, and handled the draft’s top wide receiver prospect, A.J. Green of Georgia, in a matchup this past fall.
 
The first-team All-Big 12 honoree made 70 tackles for the second straight season, including two for loss, and broke up five passes. He notched just three career interceptions, but that can also be attributed to teams not throwing at him often.
 
“I’m a shutdown corner,” Smith said. “Sometimes they avoided me in the pass game. Sometimes it got a little boring.”

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