Cornerback Jimmy Smith proved exactly how much the Ravens need him with exactly how much they missed him in 2014. After Smith went down with his foot injury, the Ravens secondary just fell apart. With Lardarius Webb still trying to knock off the rust of yet another injury, and the rest of the secondary apparently tripping over themselves to go on IR, the Ravens had one of their worst pass defenses.
So the Ravens rewarded cornerback Jimmy Smith with a nice sized contract. Of course Smith rewarded the Ravens' patience with him and the risk they took by drafting him by taking a bit of a discount. With a four year, $48 million extension, Smith should be in a Ravens' uniform for some time.
According to PFF, Smith graded out to be a top-20 corner before missing the final 8 games due to Lisfranc surgery. With an offseason to rest and rehab the injury, along with being the clear-cut number one corner for the Ravens, Smith should see himself not only return to form, but exceed that play in 2015.
With only 5 career interceptions, Smith does need to find the ball in his hands more to get the recognition that he deserves. At 26 years old, the bet is that Smith has still not hit his full prime yet. Still growing into his body and mastering the mental part of the game, Smith already has shown that things are slowing down for him enough to become a serious threat on the defense. Add in the pass rush that the Ravens have cultivated over the years as well as the play of the front-seven in run defense, and teams will likely be throwing the ball up a little more in dangerous situations, allowing Smith to finally hit on those stats that he'll need to head to the Pro-Bowl.
With a Pro-Bowl nod after coming back from injured reserve, Smith is the easy nomination for the Ravens' comeback player of the year for 2015. Who do you think could also be a contender?