Live From Owings Mills: Panic, Risk Surround Ravens’ Choice of Colorado’s Smith

April 29, 2011 | Glenn Clark

to the 29th pick. There was no certainly no guarantee the Bears, Chiefs or New England Patriots (who eventually dealt their 28th overall pick to the New Orleans Saints) would have taken Smith, but the Ravens would have run the risk of losing the player they coveted.

So when push came to shove, the Ravens preferred trading out of their pick to selecting Smith.

It’s worth keeping in mind.

There are plenty of reasons to like the selection. Smith is blessed with tremendous size (6’2″, 210 pounds) and particularly impressive speed given his size (4.42). His frame has lead to comparisons to former Oakland Raiders CB (and current free agent) Nnamdi Asomugha, former Ravens CB Chris McAlister and Hall of Fame CB Rod Woodson.

That’s impressive company.

Smith’s career in Boulder yielded just three total interceptions, but opponents often threw away from his direction. He was often the most dominant player on the field-whether at Folsom Field or elsewhere.

The Ravens clearly were in a place where they wanted to add a premiere “shutdown” corner. They received just seven interceptions from cornerbacks in 2010 (three from Josh Wilson, two from Chris Carr, two from Lardarius Webb). While the recent rulings of Judge Susan Nelson make it likely that Wilson will not see unrestricted free agency this season, Carr will be available to go elsewhere no matter what. Further complicating the team’s secondary is the fact that CB Domonique Foxworth missed the entire 2010 season with a torn ACL.

Smith can certainly help. But he’ll have to be sure he’s past his problems and on the football field September 11 when the Ravens host the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium.

I’ll say (roughly) the same thing about the selection of Smith that I did when the Ravens took Kindle and DT Terrence Cody a year ago. You’ll just need to swap out the word “Friday” for “Thursday.”

“Should the players selected Friday continue to deal with the same problems that have plagued them thus far in their football lives, the brain trust may be forced to (remember) this weekend as the exact moment that their pursuit of another Vince Lombardi Trophy took a wrong turn.”

There’s a reason Newsome, Harbaugh, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz make the decisions here. They’ve put together a team that has reached the playoffs and won at least one game in each of the last three seasons.

But I can’t ignore the fact that the team was more interested in trading out of the pick than selecting the man Newsome would later label as a “phenomenal” answer for new Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green.

As always with the NFL Draft, time will tell.

-G

NOTES: Hear from Newsome, Harbaugh, DeCosta, Hortiz and Smith following the first round in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net……The Ravens are tentatively planning to introduce Smith to the media in a late Friday afternoon press conference at 1 Winning Drive……The Ravens are scheduled to make two picks on Friday night, holding 2nd round (58th overall) and 3rd round (90th overall) choices……After Nelson’s ruling this week, Ravens veterans are permitted to workout at the complex beginning at 8am Friday. It is not known how many players will report

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