Every year, it seems like the Baltimore Ravens pick up some under-the-radar guy that nobody has heard of that winds up being a difference-maker. Corey Graham was that guy last year, and Daryl Smith is looking like that guy this year. GM Ozzie Newsome picked Smith right out of the Walmart $5 DVD barrel.
Through the first three games of this young season, Smith has been the MVP of this team. After a rough go of it against the Denver Broncos on opening night, the defense has yet to yield a touchdown since. The unit as a whole has really started gel together. Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are getting good pressure on opposing quarterbacks. James Ihedigbo has been leading the way for an underrated secondary unit.
But, the guy who’s been doing it all has been Smith.
After the first three games, Smith leads the team with 25 tackles, which is seven more then Josh Bynes, who’s second on the team with 18 tackles. Besides being a tackling machine, Smith is also a good pass rusher with 1.5 sacks thus far — only Suggs, Dumervil, and Arthur Jones have more.
Everyone seemed to be really concerned during the offseason about who could replace old man Ray Lewis. Danelle Ellerbe was the first choice, but he was laughably overpaid by the Miami Dolphins. Jameel McClain still hasn’t recovered from a spinal contusion and Rolando McClain … well we don’t need to remember him. Funny how things work out sometimes.
Smith is no Lewis, but he is better then the 37-year old Lewis, that’s for sure.
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