With the 23rd pick of Pride of Detroit's 2011 NFL Mock Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith. N4ry4 is serving as the Eagles' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
The Eagles being a playoff team already, I thought it was better to take a BATFAN approach rather than a strict BPA based on a big board--that is, target a few positions of need and pick the best player at one of them.
It came down to right tackle, right guard, and cornerback. With Mike Pouncey off the board, I don't see a valuable first-round talent here to fill the Eagles' need on the interior O-Line. I was really tempted to pick a solid, strong tackle like Gabe Carimi here to help protect Michael Vick's blindside, but there really seems to be a debate among Eagles fans about whether current RT Winston Justice needs to be replaced right away or deserves another season. He had solid play overall over the past two seasons, even if his most recent play, especially against Clay Matthews in the playoffs, has been disappointing.
No need seemed quite as urgent as cornerback, though. The Eagles need somebody to line up across from Asante Samuel, and I think getting Jimmy Smith here in the bottom third of the first round means getting a good player at a good value. At 6'2", 210, Smith gives the Eagles a dimension of size and strength they currently don't have starting at CB, which will be very helpful going up against bigger receivers in the division like Dez Bryant and Julio Jones and trying to handle them at the line of scrimmage and compete with them when the ball's in the air.
If there's one knock against Smith, it's that he's had a few underage alcohol charges and failed drug tests. That stuff seems to be behind him, though, and the Eagles have taken chances on players convicted of far worse.
In short, the Eagles need a cornerback, and Jimmy Smith is a big, fast, talented corner. He's a good value to get in the bottom half of the first round. He'll be a solid addition to Philly's defense for years to come.
Check out the 2011 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.
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