Scouting Report: Cornerback is one position in this draft that really shows some promise. The Colorado Buffaloes Jimmy Smith certainly deserves to be considered among the elite, not only at the cornerback postion, but among prospects in general. One area where college cornerbacks fall short is in press man coverage. This is where Smith excels and is far and away the best player in the draft at it. That's huge for his NFL future as he's going to be asked to do just that in the NFL. He's long and tall, with a strong upper body. He uses his hands at the line of scrimmage very well and does a great job in not only knocking the timing out of routes, but also forcing wide outs to make decisions they don't want to make because they know they won't get a clean release. Also, the more I watch Smith on film the more impressed I am with his on field speed. No, he might not wow you in shorts, but he has shown over and over that he can close on the ball, run down ballcarriers from behind and even chase down plays on the opposite side of the field. He does look a little awkward at times, having to do with his size as much as anything, but you can't deny his athletic ability and quickness.
Draft Status: I am not going to say that Smith should be taken ahead of Patrick Peterson or Prince Amukamara because he probably shouldn't. But he's almost certainly the third best corner in this draft, and looking at the talent in the first round, I suspect Smith will come off the board somewhere between 12 and 24 overall.
Final Analysis: When you weigh out the positives and negatives with Smith, the positives are overwhelming. Looking at some of the other technical parts of his game, his zone coverage needs work. he tends to lose track of who he has in zone and gives up a little too much room. He's rock solid in run support, able to diagnose the play quickly and closes in a hurry. The problem comes when he gets there. If there's a real fault to Smith's game it's that he's not a great tackler. Also, his ball skills aren't great. He has great anticipation and leaping but doesn't get a lot of picks. He does well to knock the ball down, but it's like that old saying, if he could catch he'd be a wide receiver not a cornerback. Oh and I would be remiss if I didn't mention Smith's ego. Yeah he's arrogant. Sounds like he's way past confident and on to being pretty full of himself. Does this shock anyone? Aren't all elite corners in the league a little bit like this? I don't think much about it. Smith is confident, expects to win every matchup and has a very short memory for bad plays. Smith isn't a complete player, but he's close and being the best press man corner in this draft gives him something special that NFL teams demand.
Reminds me of: Antoine Cason CB San Diego Chargers - Both big strong athletic and physical press corners. Overall I think Smith's game is a little better especially in run support, but Cason is probably a little better in zone coverage and a little better tackler.
Red Flags: None
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy