Oakland Raiders CB Sean Smith came into the league in 2009 with the Miami Dolphins. He was okay with the Dolphins but he did have a tendency to get burnt while he was with the team. At 6’3″, 220 pounds, he’s a big, long CB that can hold opposing WRs up in the line of scrimmage.
But if you can get past him at the line of scrimmage before too long, you could beat him deep. With that size and length Smith has, he wasn’t blessed with great feet, fluid hips or blazing speed. So in 2013, he went to the Kansas City Chiefs, where he could flourish in the Chiefs’ mostly press-man coverage.
And that’s what he did, making quite a name for himself, playing in the AFC West. When Smith got there, the big-time WRs in the division were bigger and didn’t have much speed. Guys like Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd with the San Diego Chargers and Demaryius Thomas with the Denver Broncos ruled.
Those are all big guys that don’t have the most speed so Smith didn’t have problems. Then he hit the free agent market as a top CB and the Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie took the flier on him. And that flier worked out to the tune of four years for $38 million with $10.75 million guaranteed.
But in his first game as a Raider, Smith was re-exposed by New Orleans Saints WR Brandin Cooks’ speed. The Chargers added speed at WR in Travis Benjamin, who also exposed Smith in 2016. This doesn’t bode well for Smith as Benjamin is still there and the Chiefs now have Tyreek Hill.
Kelvin Benjamin of the Carolina Panthers, who isn’t even fast, beat Smith on a deep ball too. A lot of the problem for Smith these days is he’s losing at the line of scrimmage and he needs to win. He doesn’t have the make-up speed to get back into the play once he’s beaten at the line of scrimmage.
Smith made his guaranteed money last year so the Raiders can cut him without any dead money. The Raiders already picked Gareon Conley, who can cover size and speed, in the first round this year. And Conley has No. 2, a number he can’t wear in a game, while all the CB numbers are taken now.
Just so you know, guys like legendary CB Deion Sanders wore No. 2 in practice and No. 21 in games. And it just so happens that Smith is the one that dons the No. 21 for the Raiders right now. Smith makes too much money to get beat deep so often and not be able to cover speed.
And of course, the Raiders have to pay QB Derek Carr and OLB Khalil Mack in the very near future. So I can’t help but wonder how much longer Smith will be a Raider and if Conley is waiting for No. 21. Sure, other players whose No. Conley can take will be cut but Smith has to be a prime cut candidate.
Just win, baby!