ESPN draft expert: CB Jimmy Smith possesses top 15 talent
Based on pure talent cornerback Jimmy Smith out of Colorado would likely be a top 15 pick in April’s draft.
Because of his position, the Lions have taken a close look at the 6-foot-2, 205-pound corner. He was one of the 30 players they selected to bring in for a visit so they could get to know him better.
Talent is just part of the story though. Smith’s off-field antics as a freshman at Colorado still follow him like a dark cloud. At the NFL Combine, Smith said he had learned from his mistakes which happened when he was a freshman and redshirt freshman.
Because of the question marks that surround Smith, Todd McShay, ESPN Scouts Inc. director of college football scouting, has Smith going early in the second round. It’s quite a change from when McShay first saw him on film.
“That's the whole thing, it's a risk-reward proposition. I remember watching tape of him when we first started really breaking down this group of cornerbacks in late fall. I said to myself no one's talking about Jimmy Smith, he's got a lot of talent. When coaching tape came in and I started watching more and more games I actually had him basically neck-and-neck with Prince Amukamara from Nebraska with what I saw on the field,’’ McShay said in a conference call on Wednesday.
“Then I started asking everyone in the league what's going on, why isn't Jimmy Smith right up there with those other guys? Am I mis-evaluating him because I don't see anyone talking about him and when the top cornerbacks are brought up he's not in the discussion.
“And then I found out obviously about some of the off-the-field stuff and character concerns. I hope he gets his off-the-field issues squared away and I hope he gets his mind right and is able to focus on playing football,’’ he added.
“If Jimmy Smith does, he has a chance to be a really good starting cornerback in the NFL. Because of that risk, there's a strong chance he goes from where he should be drafted in the top 15 picks from a talent perspective, falling all the way out of the first round,’’ McShay concluded. (Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)