xml:space="preserve">

We're several weeks into the season so there is plenty of football left, but so far I haven't been that impressed with rookie receiver Torrey Smith, the Ravens' second round pick out of Maryland.

I see potential and flashes of him possibly being a good receiver one day, but he isn't very physical and is missing one major ingredient: Smith isn't nasty yet.

Advertisement

If you look at all the good receivers in the league, including former Raven Derrick Mason and current Raven Anquan Boldin, they all have a nastiness about them when it comes to catching a football. They are aggressive in attacking the ball, and they won't be denied. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome had it when he was a Pro Bowl tight end for the Cleveland Browns. I haven't seen it in Smith yet.

He is passive in running routes. The other day, I watched rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith hold him at the line of scrimmage for seconds with one hand. When Mason ran those famed comeback routes, he was successful because he was so good at selling cornerbacks that he was going to go down field, and then he planted and exploded back. Often, Mason would hurl his body in between a defender and a Joe Flacco pass to protect the ball.

Smith doesn't do that. In fact, when he runs a comeback route, he just rounds it off and sits. He is still soft. He runs at the same speed all the time, even going in and out of breaks, something you see from receivers who lack confidence. Smith is extremely effective in running slant routes, or pattens that involve speed. But when it comes to precision routes, where he has to make cuts or curl back to the football, he seems passive.

Hopefully, he'll improve with practice, and develop a tougher demeanor. As far as being aggressive, Smith's college teammate LaQuan Williams, a rookie free agent wide receiver, has been more impressive and a lot tougher.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement