Smith has been a guy on our R1 radar. We've talked to quite a few R1 and R2 CBs, so it's not out of the question. Found this interesting, FWIW, from Rich Gosselin's Dallas Morning News Blog:
Wake CB Alphonso Smith has faced the best
6:00 AM Fri, Mar 20, 2009 | Permalink
Rick Gosselin E-mail News tips
One of the questions I routinely ask cornerbacks at the NFL scouting combine is: Who's the best wide receiver you've ever faced? This year a few said Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech. Some said Hakeem Nicks of North Carolina. A couple said Kenny Britt of Rutgers.
Then there was Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith, who said Pro Bowler Anquan Boldin of the Arizona Cardinals.
"When I was a senior in high school, Anquan Boldin was coming off a Pro Bowl year," Smith said. "His brother D.J. and I grew up together. We were on the same team and we were both going to Wake Forest. So we were all on the field that summer doing one-on-ones and Anquan would say, `If I don't catch it with one hand, it doesn't count.' So I started talking back to him and he'd talk back to me. He'd say, `You have no idea...'"
Smith probably didn't then. But he learned quickly. Especially in subsequent summers when Santonio Holmes showed up for some of those throwing sessions as well. Smith and Boldin are both from Pahokee and Holmes from Belle Glade just down the road. In the Super Bowl last February, Boldin led the Cardinals with eight catches for 84 yards and Holmes led the Steelers with nine catches for 131 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
"Every summer I'd get a chance to face them when they come home," said Smith, a two-time All-ACC cornerback. "It's not a big deal for me. I'm a ball player. I do what I do -- and I do it very well."
He is just 5'9", though. So that's a consideration. 34" VJ, good, not great (23 guys jumped higher at Indy).
While Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins deserves the recognition he has received as the top senior cornerback in the country, Smith might just be the most underrated. What Smith lacks in size, he more than makes up for in pure athleticism, demonstrating the quick feet and straight-line speed to cover any receiver in the country.
Just as important, Smith is fearless on the field, routinely coming up to support the run. A natural playmaker, Smith left Wake Forest as the ACC's career leader with 21 interceptions. This penchant for the big play translated onto the practice field at the Senior Bowl, where Smith intercepted passes in front of hundreds of scouts on each of the first three days of work.
As dynamic a playmaker as Smith is, however, the reality is there are very few 5-foot-9 cornerbacks starting in the NFL. Smith's small stature could push him far enough down the board to the point where he is ultimately a steal.
Positives: Excellent ball skills, closing on the ball quickly and watching it into his hands. Can adjust to ball over his shoulder. Able to return interceptions for significant yardage. Very good speed to stay with receivers down the sideline, along with fluid hips and excellent quickness to handle short-area responsibilities. Reads the quarterback well, and can undercut throws to make a play. Very confident on an island, and won't back down even if giving up size to his opponent. Able to get position on receivers in order to cut off routes. Not shy about contact, and will attempt to wrap tackle in the open or cut if needed. Can close down the sideline on outside runs. Tries to strip the ball when part of a gang tackle. Got touches as a receiver on quick screens, and could be a return option.
Negatives: Short with only an adequate build and strength. Gives up several inches in height to outside receivers who can take advantage of him in jump balls down the sideline and red-zone situations. Can get vertical quickly, but isn't strong enough to out-fight bigger receivers for the ball. Struggles to get off decent receiver run blocks in space. Not a great one-on-one open-field tackler. Best as a zone corner or in the slot, as he may have problems jamming physical receivers at the line of scrimmage.
Another Dre Bly type? Anyway, just thought it was interesting that he practices against Holmes already.