Detroit Lions Draft Prospects: Jimmy Smith

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The following is the scouting report on Jimmy Smith from With the First Pick. I suggest bookmarking that site as a go to source for year round NFL draft coverage and scouting reports.


Understands route running and body language extremely well, especially when in man coverage. Does a good job of playing the ball and not the receiver. In off zone, struggles to sometimes recognize when receivers are breaking off their routes. Needs to improve his anticipation. Against the run, he does a nice job at keeping his eyes in the backfield to diagnosis the play. Also, reads screen passes very well.

Cover Skills:

Press man coverage is where he shines. Plays with physicality and has the size and length to effectively press receivers and re-route them. Understands leverage and position. Knows how to use his wing span to jam a receivers inside shoulder, to prevent them from executing inside routes. Shows good balance when fighting receivers in the 5-yard area. Does a nice job of planting-and-closing on comeback routes, but could become even better if he stayed lower. Is adequate in off zone coverage. Footwork and balance tend to wane when not in press. Back pedals nicely, but could benefit from staying lower. Has good speed and foot quickness. Can stay in receivers hip pockets and that allows him to contest every ball thrown his way.

Ball Skills:

Hands are good and improving. Does a nice job of playing the ball and not the receiver. On over the top routes, he whips his head around and locates the ball. Uses his long arms to deflect passes, and his hands to jar balls free. Has an innate ability to time his leaps and route jumping perfectly. Uses his size well on fade and post corner routes. Is not a ball hawking cornerback.

Run Support:

Plays the run well, but needs to be more aggressive. Will sometimes wait for ball carriers to come to him or assume someone else will make the tackle, instead of attacking. Jogs around and lacks effort on occasion. Doesn’t fly to the ball, which allows ball carriers to get good yardage after first contact. Isn’t overly physical either. Does not show the strength necessary to deliver a good pop upon contact. Is more of a wrap-up-drag-down tackler. Despite his lack of physicality, he doesn’t miss many tackles. Even at his size, he has some issues with disengaging from receivers blocks. Needs to become more violent and aggressive with his hands.


Active in community service. Thought of as quiet and reserved. 2010 Jim Thorpe Award candidate. All-Big 12 First Team selection.

Overall Stock:

Teams are intrigued by the size of Jimmy Smith. He has next level ability. Anytime a cornerback is 6ft plus, athletic, and excels at playing press man coverage, he will find himself in discussions of the first round. As it is now, not many people know about Smith. He is not a flashy kid. Doesn’t pick off a ton of passes and run them back for touchdowns, and he attended a mediocre football school. But, I guarantee people will soon know him. In the last two years, Smith has put up some crazy numbers that aren’t obvious to the casual fan. He has only allowed 11 competitions in the past two years, total. Those are insane numbers. In fact, those are Nnamdi-like numbers. Teams will put on the tape this offseason and see a potential shut down corner. He does have his flaws, but shut down corners are a rare breed, which means there’s a good chance Jimmy Smith comes off the board in the first round. With a strong combine, the skies the limit for this kid.

NFL Comparison:

Nnamdi Asomugha

What do you think Lions fans? Should the front office worry more about team need and less about possible character flaws or would they be right to pass on Jimmy Smith?

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Tags: Detroit Lions Draft Prospects Jimmy Smith NFL Draft

  • Dan

    If they could trade down and grab this guy they should pull the trigger, may be a reach at 13.

  • Ross Husson

    I agree with ESPN, I think he is the 3rd best CB in the draft. I am in LOVE with his physical tools: 6’2, 211, 4.38-40, and 24 bench press reps. I didn’t know his character was really that bad until I read a post on

    “Flunked drug tests. Arrests for possession of alcohol as a minor. Skipping the Senior Bowl. And a borderline cocky attitude to boot.”

    Dan, I wouldn’t worry about having to trade down. I defintely think Smith will still be available at #13. What I am really hoping for is that Prince Amukamara slides down to our spot.

  • Scott Bischoff

    If Amukamara is gone (and I think he will be and he should be) then the Lions can’t take him at No. 13 overall. It is way too risky. I say take offensive tackle or defensive end at No. 13. A dream scenario would be for Jimmy Smith to fall out of the first round and be available in round 2. The Patriots have the first pick of round 2 and they will have a full day to shop that pick. It would still be risky but it would give them great value in getting Jimmy Smith that late. Just a thought.

  • Rick Paffenroth

    Smith has all the tools you want in a corner. The charachter issues are a concern. It’s such a crap shoot with these young guys. You never know how they’re going to respond after cashing in on all the work they’ve done to get to this point. For some it’s obvious they were only in it for the money and once the big pay day hits they’re done (Mr. Rogers comes to mind). Then on the other extreme you’ve got guys like Su who would play for only meal money and really loves the game. I really believe a rookie salary cap would help this situation greatly. Paying these young guys who have yet to play a down in the NFL such enormous money is crazy.

    Mayhew and Co. need to address CB, LB, and OL line this off season. Whether that is done through the draft or free agency makes no difference. Mayhew seems to have a pretty good eye for talent. Let’s hope whomever they decide to draft this year, that success continues.