SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 22: Curtis McNeal #22 of the University of Southern California Trojans tries to hold off Harrison Smith #22 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Charles Davis of the NFL Network did a Mock Draft over at NFL.com and has the Baltimore Ravens selecting Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith with their pick at #29 of the first round. Most of the other Mock Drafts we've seen usually show the Ravens taking an offensive lineman or a linebacker with their pick at the end of the first round, although other Mock Drafts at their site has the Ravens taking a safety as well. However, Davis sees the need for not only depth at that position behind both starters, Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard, but as an insurance policy for injury as well as a possible future replacement for Reed if he decides to hang up his cleats in the next year or so.
However, Smith is a strong safety and the transition from that position to free safety is not as easy as it seems. Smith is not projected as a first round pick by NFL Draft Scout. He is thought to be a 2nd or even 3rd round selection. At the same time, he is rated by them as the 2nd best strong safety in the draft class, just behind Alabama strong safety Mark Barron, who is expected to be gone long before the Ravens make their pick. Smith is rated as the 66th best player overall in the draft.
Smith does have intriguing size at 6'2 and 214 pounds, and his 4.57 speed is not bad at all for a safety. If the Ravens are looking for a safety, most people think they will not use their first round pick on a player that will probably stand on the sidelines and learn from watching Reed and Pollard. Instead, they will look for someone to step in at the least t some point, if not right away during their rookie season and contribute to the Ravens run at the playoffs and the Super Bowl.