Jimmy Smith (cornerback)

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Jimmy Smith
refer to caption
Smith during practice at M&T Bank Stadium in 2011
No. 22 – Baltimore Ravens
Personal information
Born: (1988-07-26) July 26, 1988 (age 30)
Fontana, California
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:206 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school:Colton (Colton, California)
NFL Draft:2011 / Round: 1 / Pick: 27
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 2, 2018
Total tackles:254
Forced fumbles:2
Pass deflections:57
Defensive touchdowns:3
Player stats at NFL.com

James Michael Smith (born July 26, 1988)[1] is an American football cornerback for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Ravens with the 27th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Colorado.

High school career[edit]

Smith attended Colton High School in his hometown, where he was a three-year letterman in football. He garnered honorable mention all-league accolades on defense as a sophomore starting at safety, when he had 45 tackles and four interceptions on the season-his first year playing football. As a junior, he was named first-team all-league and second-team all-county on defense. He recorded 30 catches for 600 yards and four touchdowns on offense, and at his cornerback spot, he tallied 57 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, an interception and eight passes broken up. In his final year, he was first-team All-Southeastern Conference on both offense (wide receiver) and defense (cornerback). He was named first-team all-county and his team's most improved player. On offense, he had 53 receptions for 1,123 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 21.2 yards per catch, while defensively, he totaled 47 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, two interceptions and 15 pass deflections. He also averaged 36 yards on punt returns with one touchdown. Under coach Harold Strauss, his team went a combined 30-6 in his three years playing football: 9-3 as a senior, 10-2 as a junior and 11-1 as a sophomore; Colton advanced to the second round of the playoffs each year. Smith also lettered in basketball and track & field at Colton, earning a combined seven letters between the two.

College career[edit]

Smith was another surprise out of Dan Hawkins's transition class of 2006. Like Nate Solder, Smith was a middle of the pack recruit out of his home state of California (No. 57 Athlete by Rivals and unranked as a corner by ESPN)[2][3] that grew into a first round prospect on a series of very mediocre Colorado teams. During the 2007 season Smith firmly established himself as a contributor, a special teams star, and as part of the secondary depth. By far the biggest play of his 2007 season came against Nebraska. With Colorado trailing by 11, Smith picked off a Joe Ganz pass and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown. It sparked a 34-0 run, and Colorado would go on to win 65-51 over Nebraska.[4]

Smith built on his redshirt freshman year effort, playing in 10 games for CU and starting the final three at corner, a position he'd hold through the rest of his CU career. Again Smith closed the season with fireworks against Nebraska, sniffing out an ill-advised fake field goal attempt by the Huskers, intercepting the lateral and taking it 58 yards for a touchdown. Things continued to progress well for Smith who took over the starting corner spot full-time at the start of his junior season, holding it through his last game at CU; in that 2 year, 24 game run he gave up an average of 1 completion a game. During that span Smith made quite a name for himself totaling 70 tackles in both seasons defending 15 passes and posing such a threat to offenses he was thrown at a mere 20 times as a senior in man coverage. In that time Smith was honored as a two-time All-Big 12 nominee, the Dave Jones award winner, and was named to the Thorpe Award watch list.[5]

Professional career[edit]

As a top cornerback prospect, Smith was one of 56 collegiate defensive backs to attend the annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. Smith completed all of the combine drills and finished sixth among defensive backs in the 40-yard dash, tied for third in the bench press, and finished 12th amongst his position group in the broad jump.[6] On March 9, 2011, Smith attended Colorado's pro day, along with Nate Solder, Jalil Brown, and Scotty McKnight among others. He opted to stand on the majority of his combine numbers and only performed the vertical jump (37"), long shuttle (11.42s), and positional drills. His overall performance was perceived as mediocre by scouts, as he had a few dropped passes and appeared too quickly tire during his workout.[7] Smith attended private workouts and meetings with 12 teams that included the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, and Philadelphia Eagles.[8][9][10]

At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Smith was projected to be a first round pick by NFL draft experts and analysts. It was reported multiple teams removed Smith entirely off their draft boards due to his history of arrests, failed drug tests, and suspected maturity issues.[11][12] Multiple teams stated Smith failed to accept responsibility for his actions during interviews with teams at the NFL combine.[13] He was ranked as the third best cornerback prospect in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com and ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. and was ranked the fourth best cornerback by NFL analyst Mike Mayock.[14][15][16]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 2 in
(1.88 m)
211 lb
(96 kg)
32 14 in
(0.82 m)
9 34 in
(0.25 m)
4.47 s 1.59 s 2.63 s 4.06 s 6.93 s 36 in
(0.91 m)
10 ft 3 in
(3.12 m)
24 reps
All values from NFL Combine[17][18]


The Baltimore Ravens selected Smith in the first round (27th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft.[19] He was the third cornerback selected in 2011, behind LSU's Patrick Peterson and Nebraska's Prince Amukamara.[20]

On July 29, 2011, the Baltimore Ravens signed Smith to a four-year, $7.46 million contract that includes $6.06 million and a signing bonus of $3.92 million.[21]

Smith was unable to develop at the expected rate due to the lockout forcing teams to cancel organized team activities and minicamp. Throughout training camp, Smith competed for the starting cornerback job against veterans Lardarius Webb, Chris Carr, and Domonique Foxworth.[22] Head coach John Harbaugh named Smith the starting outside cornerback along with Cary Williams.[23]

He made his professional regular season debut in the Baltimore Ravens' season-opening 35–7 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers. During the opening kickoff, Smith suffered a sprain ankle and was unable to start on defense.[24] He missed four games (Weeks 2-6) due to the high ankle sprain and was unable to return until Week 7. On November 6, 2011, Smith recorded his first career tackle on Antonio Brown after a 25-yard kick return during the Ravens' 23–20 loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers.[25] On November 20, 2011, Smith made three solo tackles, a pass deflection, and recorded his first career interception off an errant pass by Andy Dalton during the 31–24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.[26] He returned the ball 16-yards before having it stripped from his grasp by Bengals' wide receiver Jerome Simpson, but it was subsequently recovered by Ravens' linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo.[27] On December 4, 2011, Smith earned his first career start and recorded one tackle, a pass break up, and an interception during a 24–10 victory at the Cleveland Browns. He finished his rookie season in 2011 with 20 solo tackles, eight pass deflections, and two interceptions in 12 games and three starts.[28]

The Baltimore Ravens finished atop the AFC North with a 12-4 record. On January 15, 2012, Smith played in his first career playoff game and recorded two combined tackles and recovered a fumble by Texans' wide receiver Jacoby Jones on a punt return during their 20–13 win against the Houston Texans.[29] The following week, he started his first career playoff game and made a tackle, broke up a pass, and intercepted Tom Brady after it was tipped by teammate Bernard Pollard in the Ravens' 23–20 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship.[30] Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano accepted the head coaching role with the Indianapolis Colts after the 2011 season.[31]


Smith entered training camp under new defensive coordinator Dean Pees competing against Cary Williams for the job as the starting cornerback.[32] Smith was named the third cornerback on the Ravens' depth chart to start the 2012 regular season, behind Lardarius Webb and Williams.[33]

In Week 6, Smith recorded a season-high seven solo tackles and broke up one pass during a 31–29 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. The following week, he earned his first start of the season in place of Lardarius Webb, who was placed on injured reserve after tearing his ACL. Smith went on to make four solo tackles and deflected a pass as the Ravens' were routed 43–13 by the Houston Texans.[34] On November 15, 2012, it was reported Smith had undergone sports hernia surgery and missed the next five games (Weeks 10-14) while recovering.[35] Smith finished 2012 with 34 combined tackles (30 solo) and three pass break ups in 11 games and two starts.[28]

The Baltimore Ravens finished first in their division with a 10-6 record and went on to defeat the Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, and New England Patriots. On February 3, 2013, Smith recorded a solo tackle and two pass deflections during the Baltimore Ravens' 34–31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. Smith had a key individual effort on the final goal line stand of Super Bowl XLVII and was targeted on consecutive plays by Colin Kaepernick during the 49ers' final offensive drive of the game. While covering Michael Crabtree, he prevented the San Francisco 49ers from scoring on fourth down in the final minutes.[36][37]


After their Super Bowl victory, Baltimore Ravens elected not to re-sign Cary Williams or safeties Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard. Smith competed for the vacant starting cornerback job, that was previously held by Williams, against Corey Graham.[37] Head coach John Harbaugh named Smith the third cornerback on the depth chart, behind Lardarius Webb and Corey Graham.[38]

He started the Baltimore Ravens' season-opener at the Denver Broncos and recorded six solo tackles, a pass break up, and forced a fumble during their 49–27 loss. He was promoted to starting outside corner over Corey Graham for Week 2.[39] Smith recorded his first interception of the season in Week 6 against Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers when he picked him off in the end zone. He had a second interception in his team's Week 17 finale against the Bengals, a loss that ended their season. On October 13, 2013, Smith recorded three combined tackles, broke up a pass, and intercepted Aaron Rodgers in the Ravens' 19–17 loss to the Green Bay Packers. In Week 15, Smith collected a season-high seven combined tackles as the Ravens' won at the Detroit Lions 18-16.[40] He finished the 2013 season with a career-high 58 combined tackles (49 solo), a career-high 15 pass deflections, two interceptions, and a forced fumble in 16 games and 16 starts.[28]


On April 17, 2014, the Baltimore Ravens exercised the fifth-year, $6.89 million option on Smith's rookie contract.[21] He entered training camp slated as the starting cornerback after Corey Graham departed for the Buffalo Bills in free agency.[41] Head coach John Harbaugh named Smith the starting cornerback, opposite Lardarius Webb, entering the regular season.[42]

In Week 3, Smith recorded a season-high six solo tackles in the Ravens' 23–21 victory at the Cleveland Browns. On October 12, 2014, he collected five solo tackles, a pass breakup, and made his first and only interception of the season as the Ravens' routed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48–17.[43] On October 26, 2014, Smith injured his left foot on the opening series of a 27–24 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals. He attempted to limp off the field, but was eventually carted off by trainers and had it examined.[44] On November 6, 2014, the Baltimore Ravens announced that they would be placing Smith on injured reserve for the rest of the season after it was discovered that his foot injury would require surgery. Prior to his injury, Smith was having his best season yet and was in line for a possible Pro Bowl selection. He allowed only 20 receptions for 163 receiving yards and no touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 51.5[45] He finished the 2014 season with 28 combined tackles (22 solo), six pass deflections, and an interception in eight games and eight starts.[28]


On April 21, 2015, the Baltimore Ravens signed Smith to a four-year, $41.1 million contract extension that includes $21 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $13 million.[21] Smith will be under contract for the next five years and he'll earn up to $48 million due to his four-year contract and fifth-year option for 2015.[46]

Webb and Smith remained the starting cornerbacks to begin 2015 with Kyle Arrington and Asa Jackson as their backups to start the season. He started the Baltimore Ravens' season-opener at the Denver Broncos and recorded eight solo tackles, a pass break up, and returned an interception by Peyton Manning for a 24-yard touchdown in the Ravens' 19–13 loss. It marked his first career touchdown. The next week, he made five solo tackles, broke up a pass, and made his first career sack on Oakland Raiders' quarterback Derek Carr in the Ravens' 37–33 loss. On October 11, 2015, Smith collected a season-high nine combined tackles in a 33-30 loss to the Cleveland Browns.[47] He finished the 2015 season with 54 combined tackles (48 solo), ten pass deflections, a career-high three interceptions, a sack, and a touchdown in 16 games and 16 starts. It marked Smith's first season playing in all 16 games.[28]


Smith entered training camp as the No. 1 cornerback on the depth chart after Lardarius Webb was moved to strong safety after multiple knee surgeries affected his speed and ability to stay with wide receivers.[48] Smith missed two games (Weeks 11-12) due to a lingering back injury.[49] On December 4, 2016, he recorded a season-high six combined tackles and deflected a pass during a 38–6 victory against the Miami Dolphins. On December 30, 2016, Smith was placed on injured reserve after suffering a high ankle sprain in a Week 14 loss against the New England Patriots.[50] He finished the 2016 season with a total of 32 combined tackles (29 solo) and four pass deflections in 11 games and 11 starts.[28] Pro Football Focus ranked Smith 48th in overall grades among cornerbacks in 2016.[51]


Smith entered the 2017 season as the starting cornerback with newly acquired free agent Brandon Carr.[52]

He started the Baltimore Ravens' season-opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and recorded three solo tackles, a pass deflection, and made an interception off of quarterback Andy Dalton in the fourth quarter. The interception was the fourth on the day for the Ravens' defense in their 20–0 victory.[53] In Week 5, teammate Patrick Onwuasor forced a fumble and it was recovered by Smith and returned 47-yards for his second career touchdown during a 30–17 victory against the Oakland Raiders. On October 26, 2017, Smith collected a season-high four solo tackles, broke up three passes, and returned an interception for a 50-yard touchdown as the Ravens' routed the Miami Dolphins 40-0. On December 3, 2017, Smith recorded three solo tackles during a 44-20 victory against the Detroit Lions before being carted off the field with an Achilles injury. The following day, it was discovered Smith had torn his Achilles tendon and would miss the remainder of season. Smith claimed that the injury bothered him since October 1, but decided to play through it.[54] On December 4, 2017, it was reported that Smith violated the NFL's performance enhancing substances policy and would serve a four game suspension. He would be able to serve his suspension while on injured reserve.[55] He was placed on injured reserve on December 5, 2017.[56] Smith finished the season with 28 combined tackles (26 solo), nine pass deflections, three interceptions, and a touchdown in 12 games and 12 starts.[28] He received an overall grade of 86.2 from Pro Football Focus and ranked 15th in overall grades among cornerbacks in 2017.[57]


Smith was suspended the first four games of the 2018 season for violating the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy.[58]

Career statistics[edit]

2011 BAL 12 3 20 20 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 2 48 24 32 0 8
2012 BAL 11 2 34 30 4 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
2013 BAL 16 16 58 49 9 0.0 2 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 15
2014 BAL 8 8 28 22 6 0.0 0 0 0 0 1 31 31 31 0 6
2015 BAL 16 16 54 48 6 1.0 0 0 0 0 3 24 8 24T 1 10
2016 BAL 11 11 32 29 3 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
2017 BAL 12 12 28 26 2 0.0 0 1 47 1 3 58 19.3 50 T 1 9
Career 86 68 254 224 30 1.0 2 1 47 1 11 161 20.6 50 2 55



  • GP: games played
  • COMB: combined tackles
  • TOTAL: total tackles
  • AST: assisted tackles
  • SACK: sacks
  • FF: forced fumbles
  • FR: fumble recoveries
  • FR YDS: fumble return yards
  • INT: interceptions
  • IR YDS: interception return yards
  • AVG IR: average interception return
  • LNG: longest interception return
  • TD: interceptions returned for touchdown
  • PD: passes defensed

Personal life[edit]

Born in Fontana, California,[60] Smith grew up in a single-floor home in Colton, California, which is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. The neighborhood Smith lived in was notoriously bad.[61] "It's a rough neighborhood," said Smith. "A lot of gangs. A lot of gang violence. A lot of people get shot and killed all the time." However, Smith was able to shrug this off and excel at football from an early age.

Over the 2014 Memorial Day weekend, three Baltimore Ravens players including Smith were tossed out of an Ocean City, Maryland nightclub. Reports state Smith, Jacoby Jones and Bernard Pierce were all asked to leave for an inability to “maintain their composure”.[62] On July 13, 2014 Smith was arrested and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct after an alleged incident at a suburban Baltimore bar. Smith was the fifth Baltimore Raven arrested in the 2014 NFL offseason.[63]

Smith is cousins with Nat Berhe who plays safety in the NFL.[64]


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  48. ^ "Lardarius Webb Adapting To Role As New Ravens Safety". pressboxonline.com. June 1, 2016. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
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  55. ^ Mink, Ryan (December 4, 2017). "Jimmy Smith Suspended Four Games Under NFL's PED Policy". baltimoreravens.com. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  56. ^ "Ravens officially place CB Jimmy Smith on IR, promote CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste to active roster and sign CB Robertson Daniel to practice squad". BaltimoreBeatdown. December 5, 2017.
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  60. ^ http://www.cubuffs.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=600&ATCLID=233415
  61. ^ Family a force for CU's Jimmy Smith-Denver Post Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  62. ^ http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/05/28/report-three-ravens-teammates-booted-from-seacrets-for-public-drunkenness/
  63. ^ http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11209415/jimmy-smith-baltimore-ravens-arrested-disorderly-conduct
  64. ^ http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2015/04/giants_safety_nat_berhe_critical_of_communication.html

External links[edit]