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Instant analysis on Ravens' choosing Jimmy Smith

Ravens reporters and columnists weigh in on the Ravens' first-round pick:

Jamison Hensley: The Ravens took a gamble with Jimmy Smith, but it was the right one. An elite defense, like the one the Ravens had in 2000, has to have a shutdown cornerback. The Ravens have been in search of one since parting ways with Chris McAlister. Like McAlister, Smith has some character issues. But the Ravens got many productive years out of McAlister. Ultimately, this decision will be based on whether Smith develops into a top cornerback in the league and whether the pass rushers the Ravens passed on (Da'Quan Bowers and Muhammad Wilkerson) stack up against him.

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Kevin Van Valkenburg: Every pre-draft analysis that had the Ravens taking Jimmy Smith also included some discussion of how the Ravens have a "strong locker room" that will make Smith less of a character risk. Let's be clear: This is a fantasy. It's part of a mythology that people want you to believe. You can buy into it if you like, but it's a little silly. Knuckleheads tend to do whatever they want. Is Smith a knucklehead? Who knows? People should give him the benefit of doubt for now. But he'll either act like a mature adult or he won't because he chooses to, not because Ray Lewis gives him a lecture on personal conduct.

Peter Schmuck: Don't let the awkward trade attempt fool you, the Ravens wanted Jimmy Smith badly and felt they would still be able to get him at No. 29 along with the Chicago Bears' fourth-round pick.

Mike Preston: Few know if Jimmy Smith is the final piece of the puzzle to get the Ravens to the Super Bowl, but it is a risk the Ravens had to take.

Ron Fritz: The Ravens needed a cornerback and they got the best one left on the board. He's probably a Top 10 or 15 talent, so they hope to strike gold with another late-round pick.

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