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Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick in 2011: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado | The DC Times

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Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick in 2011: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

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Jonathan Bales

In case you missed it my 2010 Cornerback Grades are in:

1.  Orlando Scandrick:  B- (83.4)
2.  Terence Newman:  C+ (77.0)
3.  Mike Jenkins: D (64.6)

To say the Cowboys need help in the secondary would be an understatement.  While I do think all three cornerbacks above will improve in 2011 (particularly Jenkins), the future of the position is uncertain.

Newman will turn 33 during the upcoming season and really struggled in 2010.  He seems to have trouble locating the football while still maintaining position to make a play on it.

Jenkins appeared to lose confidence this year.  I do think he’ll regain his swagger in 2011, but he has a long way to go.

Orlando Scandrick actually played quite well over the final 10 games or so, but I think his skill set is best suited for the slot.  If he moved outside, his lack of strength and size could hurt him.

Today’s feature is a player many of you asked me to analyze, and one whose pure coverage ability would undoubtedly be of value to the Cowboys.

Scouting Report

Let’s start with the negatives: Jimmy Smith is absolutely horrible in run support.  It was honestly a pain watching him try to tackle in each of the videos below.  He doesn’t seem exceedingly willing to try to make hits, almost appearing content to get blocked.  You can see that at the 1:26 mark against Missouri and the 1:50 mark against Cal.

Jimmy Smith vs. Missouri

I really can’t stress enough how poor Smith is against the run.  I’ve read reports that he’s “solid versus the run and wraps up well.”  I don’t know what film these guys are watching, but Smith is one of the worst tacklers I’ve seen in a long time.  He’s Mike Jenkins bad, and it sure would be difficult to field a starting lineup with Jenkins and Smith outside.  I realize run support isn’t the primary concern for cornerbacks, but when it’s atrocious, it matters.

Smith also doesn’t display great technique in off-coverage.  He is often caught flat-footed, using his speed to make up for poor footwork.  He won’t be able to sit on routes like that in the NFL, even with his reported sub-4.4 speed (which he does display on tape–he’s a burner).

The good news is those are really the only negatives in Smith’s game, and there are plenty of positives.  First, Smith excels in press man coverage.  He is very physical at the line-of-scrimmage, using his large frame (6’2”, 205 pounds) to re-route receivers.  He will be able to add more bulk as well.

In 2010, Smith was targeted just 20 times all season.  Opposing quarterbacks simply didn’t want to test him.  Some of this had to do with the overall weakness of Colorado’s defense: 1) there were other places to attack and 2) Colorado was losing a lot.  Still, he allowed just one touchdown in 2010, but recorded five pass breakups.  He yielded only 11 total completions during his last two years at Colorado.

Check out the interception Smith makes at the 1:56 mark against Missouri (and Blaine Gabbert).  It is pretty remarkable considering Gabbert wasn’t fooled by Colorado’s coverage–Smith just made a heck of a play.

Jimmy Smith vs. Cal

Smith’s shutdown ability and size have some comparing him to Nnamdi Asomugha.  Those comparisons aren’t totally unwarranted, but Asomugha is far better in run support.

Despite a lack of interceptions, Smith has playmaker potential.  He puts himself in proper position on most plays.  In zone coverage, he “wanders” a bit, but in a good way.  He diagnoses plays quite well and seems to have a good feel for defensive concepts.  He’s fairly smooth out of breaks and really mirrors receivers well.  He’s probably the best pure cover man in this draft.

It’s also noteworthy that, from what I’ve seen, Smith always plays the right side.

Jimmy Smith vs. Oklahoma


Someone is going to take Jimmy Smith in the first 25 picks.  His size, speed, and coverage ability make him too good of a prospect to drop.  That makes it highly unlikely he will wind up in Dallas.

Despite cornerback being a consensus area of concern among fans, I don’t think you’ll see the Cowboys address the position in the first-round.  Smith is theoretically a possibility for Dallas at their current No. 9 spot or somewhere in the teens, but I think you’ll see the ‘Boys go a different direction.

Other Potential Dallas Cowboys Draft Picks in 2011

Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara

Cal DT/DE Cameron Jordan

UNC DE/OLB Robert Quinn

Ohio State DT/DE Cameron Heyward

Colorado OT Nate Solder

Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi

Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn

USC OT Tyron Smith

Miami CB Brandon Harris

LSU CB Patrick Peterson

UCLA FS Rahim Moore

Baylor NT Phil Taylor

Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

Muhammad Wilkerson, DT/DE, Temple

Corey Liuget, DT/DE, Illinois

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22 Responses to Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick in 2011: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

  1. john coleman says:

    I’m not high on him at all. Your speed numbers are far better than the 4.49 I’ve been seeing.

    We probaly already have a similar player in T.Williams. Although we know he can really run. Is he O or D though?

  2. moses says:

    good coverage, but boy is he a horrible tackler.
    definitely not a #9 pick.
    So far I like Miller and Peterson but they won’t be there.
    I like Harris out of Miami better than Prince.

    If he fell to the 2nd round he would be an option.

    I still think that OL needs to be addressed. Based on what I have seen, it does not seem to be a very deep class. There are some good OL, but none that are on the dominant side.

    I hope that the scouting dept does a better job than they have in the past. Maybe they need to start looking at your posts :)

  3. I think Smith is far ahead of Williams in terms of coverage ability..Smith really is quite good, but that tackling is just horrendous. I’m not sure where you say 4.49, but I’d be shocked if he runs that slow at the Combine.

    Moses–Haha thanks! Maybe they should. . .

  4. Vince_Grey says:

    A guy with his size, with Mike Jenkins level tackling desire/ability, raises a monster red flag to me.

    Assuming this guy’s a top level cover corner, you can maybe live with him being a disinterested tackler, IF your other 3 guys are above average in that area (We aren’t) or maybe if you had at least one truly dominant tackler/hitter at safety (We don’t).

    Under those current conditions, I wouldn’t touch him before the late 2nd, 3rd round, I don’t care how fast he is. What a waste. His college coaches should be horse whipped for letting him get by with that kind of tackling.

  5. john coleman says:

    4.49- is posted on cbssports.com/draft. I haven’t seen anything better posted. You know I’m a 40 guy, especially for DBs and skill positions.

    I haven’t watched much tape of him because of his slow 40. It also seems like one report questioned his motor.

    To be totally honest, I wouldn’t draft him, at least nowhere early.

  6. Vince–I’ll touch Jimmy in the 2nd, and damn sure the 3rd! haha

    JC–I REALLY think you’ll see Smith run a fast time at the Combine…like low-4.4s minimum. His speed in tape is clear.

  7. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Cover guy only (a pretty good one at that but coverage packages only) – which makes him a slot CB at best. He doesn’t return kicks/punts and from the Missouri game, didn’t look to exceptional on special teams.

    He’s a 5th round pick.

  8. Tyrone–I’d take Smith in the second in a heartbeat. Even though the tackling isn’t there, you’d pass him up in the 3rd and 4th rds? His cover skills don’t come along every day.

  9. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Yeah, I’d have to say that I would pass on this guy until possibly the 5th – depending on who my 1st-4th round picks are. The only reason I would is because we already have his skill set on the roster in Mike Jenkins and Scandrick (and possibly even Ball or AOA). Even if he is a better cover guy than 3 of the guys mentioned in previous sentence, his tackling and lack of special teams impact (if he can’t tackle during regular play, he probably isn’t a very good kickoff or punt team tackler either) make him a cover specialist. Tackling is the ONE fundamental skill taught early on from Pop Warner football all the way up to the big time- by the time a guy gets to Div I football, tackling is more a matter of will than it is skill. The last thing Dallas needs is another Mike Jenkins type shying away from hitting.

    Additionally, another cover specialist corner is like having a kickoff specialist – only good for one thing and probably will only play in nickel/dime situations. Dallas’ defense is too poor to waste 1st-4th round picks on guys who will be in on 1/3rd to 1/4th of the defensive snaps only.

    Just my opinion…

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  15. EaglesFan says:

    I am an Eagles Fan but, I have to say thank you for your assessment of Jimmy Smith. For some reason Eagles fans are completely ignoring how atrocious this guy is in run support. He has no desire to be contacted at all. You can’t teach a guy how to want to be physical and nasty. Along with the character issues I wouldn’t touch this guy at all. I look at some of the other corners in this years draft and their all at least “willing” tacklers. You can work with a B. Harris, Ras I Dowling, or Shareece Wright. They each have flaws but at least they will tackle and be physical.

  16. Eagles fan! Get him! Haha thanks for the comment though…no doubting Smith’s coverage ability, but his tackling is so horrible it is unreal. It might cause some real issues with Samuel on the other side.

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