Jimmy is a pure cornerback. He has excellent speed and shows good quickness. He is a smart player who can play in zone coverage as well as man-to-man coverage. Jimmy has those long arms and his size will help him to cover the taller receivers at the next level. He is a drag down tackler and shows good hands for the interception along with excellent make up speed. Jimmy is so intense in coverage that he does not get fooled in the passing game very much, if at all. In zone coverage, he has the ability (at the college level) to play with a large cushion because he is faster than most receivers that he goes up against. In man-to-man, he just locks on and stays with his man all over the field like a rug on a floor. He watches his opponents' body language to take his cover keys and never looks into the backfield. This shows excellent discipline, which will serve him well at the next level.
Jimmy does a good job tackling, but does not come up and support the run with the enthusiasm that you would expect in a potential #1 CB. He must get stronger in his upper body to handle bump and run techniques, but that is normal for a CB coming out of college. Right now, Jimmy allows himself to be blocked and although he uses excellent techniques to engage, shed a block and make a tackle, he waits to do all of this until the running back comes to him. On special teams coverage, he is content not to be the first player down the field to make a tackle, in spite of the fact he looks to be the fastest player on the field. It's obvious to me that Jimmy is not thrilled with contact. He will make the tackle in the running game, but it is always after an 8 or 9 yard gain around his side. At the next level, this issue will be magnified like it is for Antonio Cromartie (CB Jets).
I guess it comes down to this ...if you had the ability to chose the next potential Charles Woodson or the next potential Antonio Cromartie, who would you choose? That's the difference in the style of play in this draft between Patrick Peterson (LSU) and Jimmy Smith. Some teams will want that cover corner talent and type of player who can be left out on an island like Jimmy has the potential to be. Then again, some teams will like the physical abilities and versatility of a Patrick Peterson to play more than one position in different style defenses along with giving you excellent special teams play. If you want to rate Jimmy ahead of Patrick, then go right ahead. I guess it's a matter of opinion. For me personally, I will always rate players who have the potential to play more than one position at a high level and give me quality special teams play over a player who seems to have the potential to play only one position at a high level. But that's just crazy me. Jimmy should be drafted at some pick in the first round. As long as he continues to cover the way he has shown he can do in college at the next level, he should become a very successful cornerback for the team that drafts him.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart Feb/11