When the Baltimore selected CB Jimmy Smith with the 27th pick in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft, a lot of Ravens fans started comparing him to Chris McAlister. McAlister , a 3-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ, is generally considered as the best cornerback in the history of he franchise.
Like McAlister, Smith is expected to be an immediate starter for the Ravens. The rookie from Colorado has all of the physical tools to step up to those expectations. He is big (6’2), strong and fast and can be the shutdown corner Baltimore has lacked since McAlister left after the 2008 season. If there is a concern with Smith, it has been off the field.
Smith has had problems in the past that include failed drug tests, an assault arrest and some alcohol-related offenses. Hopefully, he has matured and has put all of these issues behind him.
On the field, Smith is slated to be the Ravens No.1 cornerback. He is supposed to be the player that neutralizes the opposition’s top receiver. That means, this season, he will have to face the likes of Mike Wallace, Larry Fitzerald, Santonio Holmes and Vincent Jackson, to name a few.
At the collegiate level, Smith was usually up to that challenge. Will he be up to the challenge in the NFL?
For the Ravens’ sake. He has to be. Jimmy Smith needs to be instant impact.