Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
What does Ravens' second year corner need to do to take his game to the next level?
When the Baltimore Ravens top corner back and punt returner had his season ended with a second ACL injury it was time for the long awaited debut of first/second round pick Jimmy Smith out of Colorado. With Webb out that left corner backs Cary Williams, Jimmy Smith, Chykie Brown and Corey Graham as the main candidates to move up in the staring rotation.
Williams, of course, had one of he positions covered as he has spent all of last season as a starter and performed admirably for the most part.This season Cary leads the team in interceptions after not recording a single one in 2011. Although he is sometimes made to look foolish by some of the more elite receivers in the league you can see his confidence growing game by game.
Corey Graham is a special teams ace that was brought in to upgrade a Ravens special teams unit that was at the bottom of the league in almost all special teams statistics last season. Even since joining the team he has shown that he is more than a capable nickle corner in the slot as well. Since the injury to Webb, Graham has found himself in the mix a lot more on defense here in 2012 so far and has played well considering...
That leaves us with Jimmy Smith, who some NFL pundits have labeled a bust already. Smith excels at man, press coverage and uses his large body and long arms to go along with his speed to attempt to shut down the big bodied receivers the Ravens face each week.
Smith has shown the potential to be a true shut down corner at the NFL level but he still suffers from mental relapses that you would expect from a rookie not a second year veteran. Jimmy has found himself out of place to make a play on the ball and his man ends up picking up large chunks of yards on the majority of these mental lapses.
He most definitely has the physical skills to be dominant at any level. I really still like Smith and hope that he simply has a slower learning curve than most. Missing the first few games in his rookie season may have set him back a bit but he still has plenty of time to fix those mistakes. It is up to the coaching staff to spend much one on one time with him going over his assignments on each play and teaching him to keep his hips square to the quarterback then ball carrier once the pass is thrown.
The Ravens drafted Jimmy Smith to be their next shut down corner and that is exactly what they will need him to be. This is his time to step up and put it all on the line.
So what do you think, Raven fans? What are Jimmy Smith's biggest issues and how can he fix them?