John Harbaugh: Jimmy Smith Becoming One Of NFL's Best


Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith dealt with injuries his first two years in the league, sidelining him a total of eight games.

Luckily for the Ravens, he avoided one this time around.

Smith has cleared the NFL's concussion protocol after a big collision with Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell in last Thursday night's game.

With Smith playing as well as he is for the Ravens, it's very significant, said Head Coach John Harbaugh.

"Jimmy is becoming one of the top corners in the National Football League by the way he's playing," Harbaugh told reporters Wednesday.

"The numbers bear that out and the film bears that out. It's important to our football team and I really like the way he's playing."

Smith has become perhaps the Ravens' most lockdown cornerback this season. He has allowed just 37 receptions this season and just 20 over the last nine games, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). He's given up just two touchdowns all year.

Over the last seven games, Smith ranks second only to Tampa Bay's Darrelle Revis in yards allowed per snap in coverage (0.71 yards), per PFF. He also ranks second only to Tennessee cornerback Alterraun Verner in cover snaps per reception (16.9) over that span.

Smith has faced off against top-flight competition during that time too, including Cleveland's Josh Gordon, Cincinnati's A.J. Green, Chicago's Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey and Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown.

Smith picked off Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers in Week 6 for his lone interception of the season. He has 11 pass deflections, which is third on the team behind cornerback Lardarius Webb (who has been targeted more frequently) and linebacker Daryl Smith.

Less than a month ago, Harbaugh said Smith is taking "major steps forward." Those steps keep coming for the third-year cornerback.

Smith has become more of a professional this year, increasing his study of opponents and asking more questions. He has also better learned how to use his big 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame to jam receivers and mix it up with playing off the line of scrimmage.

"I feel comfortable," Smith said in November. "I'm playing loose, you know? It's just natural progression. It's always a work in progress to become one of the top, elite cornerbacks in the game."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content