The talent and potential of former Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith trumped questions about his character Thursday when he was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by Baltimore with the 27th overall pick.

The Ravens were initially slated to pick 26th overall, but their time ran out before they were able to submit a selection and Kansas City was allowed to pick ahead of them.

But the Chiefs selected Pitt wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, allowing the Ravens to get their man.

"This guy is a special player," coach John Harbaugh said. "He`s exactly the type of corner that we`re looking for. He fits our defense. We all spent a great amount of time with him. We think he`s got a good heart, we think he`s very committed to being a great football player and we`re going to do every thing we can to help him bethat."

Smith is the 24th first-round draft pick in CU history joining left tackle Nate Solder, who was picked 17th overall by New England earlier in the evening. It is the first time since 1997 that the CU program has produced multiple first-round picks in the same draft.

"I`m not disappointed. I feel like I was destined to go to the Ravens," Smith said in a conference call.

Colorado is one of six college programs to produce multiple first-round picks this year along with Alabama, Auburn, Missouri, Baylor and Wisconsin.


Smith is only the third defensive back in CU history to be drafted in the first round, joining Deon Figures in 1993 and Mark Haynes in 1980. He is the first Colorado defensive back to be drafted since Terrence Wheatley was taken in the second round in 2008 by New England.

Smith had been dogged for several months by franchises, draft analysts and reporters questioning whether he was too big a risk as a first-round pick because of failed drug tests and citations for underage drinking during his time in Boulder.

However, on the field, Smith was a dominant force and opposing quarterbacks often shied away from throwing to his side of the field. He allowed only 11 completions in man-to-man coverage over his junior and senior seasons with only one of those passes producing a first down, according to the CU sports information department.

Smith was the Buffs` third leading tackler as a senior in 2010, making 70 total stops with a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

Smith has been a mainstay in the CU defense over the past three years, playing a total of 1,980 snaps in 34 games in that span.

Joining a Baltimore Ravens team that has built its reputation on stingy defense is a perfect fit for Smith, who will immediately compete for a starting job. Smith will learn from veteran All-Pro players such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

Ravens cornerbacks produced only five interceptions in 2010, so drafting Smith definitely fills a need.

Baltimore did its homework on Smith and invited him to town for a pre-draft workout and interview. General manager Ozzie Newsome said it was after meeting with Smith one-on-one and listening to him that the organization began feeling comfortable making him its pick if he was still available.

"We brought him in, we put him through a process, even more so than we do some of the other players," Newsome said. "We came away feeling that he would be able to come here and continue to be the type of player and person he`s been the last couple of years."