Remember that whole missed-pick near-fiasco for the Ravens during the first round of the NFL draft? (Yeah, I figured you hadn’t.) Well, Philadelphia radio host Howard Eskin, who covered John Harbaugh when he was a special teams coach for the Eagles, is speculating the snafu happened because Harbaugh had reservations about the Ravens selecting cornerback Jimmy Smith after the Eagles passed on Smith earlier in the round.
I’m told that Eskin is one of those “rabble-rouser” radio hosts who likes to stir things up, and he qualified his claim not by referencing an actual conversation with Harbaugh, but with a hunch on how Harbaugh might have felt. So keep that in mind when you read the comments he made on “Vinny and Kenny” on 105.7 The Fan.
“I don’t think, and I don’t know for sure, and I know John Harbaugh. I don't think he really wanted him,” Eskin told hosts Vinny Cerrato and Ken Weinman on Tuesday morning. “That’s why there was all that confusion at that pick. John, more than anybody, I think he is a terrific coach and I think he does believe [character is] important and he had problems, he was struggling with the character issues, he really was.”
Eskin said he thinks -- there’s that word again -- that once Smith got past the Eagles at No. 23, Harbaugh might have tried to contact some of his buddies in Philadelphia to find more out about Smith and his troubled past. And Eskin thinks it might have caused the Ravens to miss the pick at No. 26 (and not because of that botched trade with the Bears, which has been pretty well-documented).
“I think [Harbaugh] had some real reservations with that and that’s what screwed that all up,” Eskin speculated.
After the Chiefs rushed to the podium and drafted Pittsburgh wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, the Ravens still took Smith at No. 27.
I think, and I don’t know for sure, that I’m not buying this. Are you?
Update: SI's Peter King thinks knows he isn't buying what Eskin was selling. "That story about John Harbaugh not wanting Jimmy Smith? Wrong. Totally wrong," King said on Twitter Thursday. "Jimmy Smith spent 2 hrs w/Harbaugh, alone, before the draft, and told people internally after the meeting he really liked the kid."