Unless you touch skies for a living, don’t ask Jimmy Smith how high he thinks his ceiling is.
We heard from his two lips that he’s been studying tape in the offseason to find ways into duping quarterbacks.
Ravens fans received a tickling taste of their cornerback sensation in 2013. Fans knew he was the truth after witnessing Smith establish position and outleap Jordy Nelson in front of the goal line and pick off Aaron Rodgers. Oh, he also shut down Calvin Johnson out of the endzone, you know, Megatron? Smith also burdened a handful of the league’s biggest threats in A.J. Green, Josh Gordon, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in 2013.
Smith’s speed is undeniably one of the cornerback’s best assets. He has a nose for the ball and can chase down running backs once they slip behind the linebacking corps. His tackling fundamentals are immeasurable — stats don’t do Smith justice. He was step-for-step against Megatron on a handful of plays in the Detroit game, and for somebody who saw limited action in his first two seasons as a pro due to injuries, deserves that much more credit.
Only when the Ravens played two-deep zones did Smith allow chunks of yardage to wideouts. Quarterbacks spotted weak spots in the secondary and completed passes between the safety, in front of James Ihedigbo and behind Smith. When the Ravens rush three and rely on their corners to press and play man-coverage, No. 22 is marvelous.
Entering 2014 with a full season under his belt for the first time since being drafted in 2011, Smith should make up for the time and ground lost. He’ll have a plethora of challenges waiting to ruin him this upcoming year. He'll be covering either Falcons’ Julio Jones or Roddy White, Steelers’ Antonio Brown, Colts’ Reggie Wayne (if he comes back in time), Bengals’ A.J. Green, and Buccaneers’ Vincent Jackson or Mike Evans in 2014. These names will bolster Smith’s gallery and résumé by season’s end, and Ravens fans should pray that Smith stays healthy.
Believe it or not, Smith is on the brink of a breakout season.