Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith might be one of the most naturally talented athletes in this draft class, but it seems as though about half of the league’s teams have removed him from their draft boards because of character concerns.
Considering how rarely cornerbacks are selected early as is — and how good Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara are — there’s a good chance that those concerns will force Smith to drop right out of Round 1.
An ill-timed report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel isn’t helping Smith’s case.
Jimmy Smith is a carbon copy of Aqib Talib,” said an executive who has had dealings with both players. “This guy will be the same way.”
Teams are well aware that Smith flunked three drug tests at Colorado, and he told at least one club that one of the three was for misusing codeine.
Smith also told teams of his two alcohol-related violations, the pair of abortions that were paid for by parents of women he impregnated and an arrest for third-degree assault in a restaurant.
“Two abortions, aggravated assault, two minors in possession, three failed drug tests . . . that’s a little excessive,” the personnel man said.
It was telling, said one scout, that Southern California and UCLA chose not to recruit Smith out of what he called a “bad, bad, bad” neighborhood just east of Los Angeles. Some of Smith’s family members have been in and out of jail.
Unfortunately for Smith, the recent troubles that Talib has faced will force teams to think twice before gambling on a player with his track record. Why take Smith if Peterson, Amukamara, Aaron Williams or even Brandon Harris are on the board?
Some lucky team in need of secondary help might even grab Smith in Round 2, where the pressure is lower and it’s not such a big deal if the draft pick doesn’t pan out.
In my latest mock draft I predicted Smith would drop 10 spots to the Eagles at 23, mainly because there aren’t a lot of teams that need corners that desperately. But the more I read, the more I think that might even be a stretch.
Ultimately, though, it only takes one team. One coach or general manager might have had a good conversation with Smith during the evaluation process, and that might be all it takes for someone to fall in love with his talents while ignoring his background check.