The Baltimore Ravens enter the midseason point at 4-4 after a big win over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
It hasn’t been a perfect season by any stretch of the imagination, but one surprisingly strong point of the team has been the play of the defense. C.J. Mosley, Timmy Jernigan, Eric Weddle and Brandon Williams are all players who have stepped up to help lead the resurgence for defensive coordinator Dean Pees, but another player who has quietly boosted the defense has been cornerback Jimmy Smith.
Following an up and down start to his career, Smith rebounded nicely to have two good seasons in 2013 and 2014. Following the 2014 season the Ravens extended Smith’s contract for several years, seeing him as a potential shutdown corner for years to come.
The 2015 season was rough for the 28-year old as he returned from injury, but if 2016 has been any indication, he may live up to that potential billing that the front office originally believed he could achieve. The folks at Bleacher Report believe that he is doing so this season, as he came in at a pretty high spot on their midseason rankings for cornerbacks.
Jimmy Smith is 61st among CBs in PFF's grading, but he ranked 11th in Bleacher Report's NFL1000 midseason project: https://t.co/oSzTkql6BE— Luke Jones (@BaltimoreLuke) November 7, 2016
While he has yet to take the ball away this season, he has done a good job of shutting down explosive wide receivers. This was made ironically apparent in a game that he was unable to finish, when Odell Beckham Jr. singlehandedly beat the Ravens after Smith left in the second half against the New York Giants.
He also did a nice job against Antonio Brown this past Sunday, limiting him heavily throughout most of the game, and only allowing him to get going in what was essentially garbage time.
While he isn’t the most consistent player, and isn’t always healthy, Smith has done a nice job in the number one corner role for the Ravens this season. He will need to keep up his elevated play if the Ravens are to have any chance of making the playoffs in 2016.