Name: CB Jimmy Smith
Size: 6'2, 211 lbs
Expected Round: 1st-2nd
40 Time: 4.42s
Career Stats: Click Here.
Strengths: Reroutes the receiver off their initial path, or at least distracts them to take away the quick pass. Sticks to the receiver like glue. Has all the physicals to be an elite cornerback in the league and has production to back it up. Watched a game against Oklahoma's high powered offense where he allowed 1/7 passes for 6 yards. Has the speed to stick with all receivers, has the quickness and agility to stick with all routes. Willing to help in run support and doesn't shy away from contact. One of the best man-cover corners in the draft. Uses the sidelines to trap receivers. Just straight up wasn't thrown against. Wrap up tackler.
Weaknesses: While he's quick enough for outside receivers, he may not be quick enough to be as effective on slot receivers. Needs to get stronger in order to shed blockers- he definitely struggles to stay in on a play after being blocked, even by a receiver. Can lock onto his target and get called for pass interference. Opposing teams can exploit his inability to shed blockers by throwing bubbles to his side of the field. Some teams have character concerns, some think they're overblown- but they're out there. Possible prima donna.
Why and Why Not the Patriots after the jump, and my final verdict!
Why the Patriots?: Pairing Smith with Devin McCourty could give the Patriots one of the best young cornerback pairs in the league (I'm not including Leigh Bodden as a "young corner"). Smith has all the physicals to be an elite cornerback and he has the physical ability to eliminate wide receivers like Brandon Marshall, Braylon Edwards, Reggie Wayne and numerous other receivers the Patriots will face all the time. If he drops (and it's expected) into the second round, he could even present solid value. The fact that he is a cornerback with elite potential, as well as a prospect who is built to take out some of the premier wide receivers, gives the Patriots a weapon to take away all receivers.
Why Not the Patriots?: His price tag and character concerns. The character concerns relate to a positive drug test, as well as some alcohol related incidents as a minor, which I'm not even sure if the Patriots would worry about. The real concern is about his attitude- he thinks he's the best already (not a bad thing), but he may not be a team player. If you watch him on the field, it seems like he has the mind set, "well, at least I did my job" as opposed to, "here, this is how we can do better as a unit." He acts like he'll be flying solo and in the Patriots' defense, he'll be another piece of the puzzle and he'll have to be a part of the overall unit. I'm think Asante Samuel-type attitude with Nnami Asomugha-type talent. I doubt he'd sign an extension after his rookie contract. Not sure if these are complete negatives, but they're just factors to add when evaluating if he's worth a draft pick.
Verdict: I really like Smith as a player. He's great on the field, he eliminates receivers and he can be the corner that the Patriots need down the road. The only question is if he gets the "character + team player" okay by the coaching staff. I'm sure he'll be evaluated on how well he knows the roles on defense, as well as if he'd fit in their goal for a locker room. If he passes, then he's a great talent who could/should be available at #33. If he doesn't pass, then I'd stay away.