West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, widely regarded as the top QB prospect in this year’s NFL draft, was recently chopped down as a strong prospect by Pro Football Weekly analyst Nolan Nawrocki, who had this summary to say about Smith in his scouting report:
A cross between Akili Smith and Aaron Brooks, Smith is a gimmick, overhyped product of the system lacking the football savvy, work habits and focus to cement a starting job and could drain energy from a QB room. Will be overdrafted and struggle to produce against NFL defensive complexities.
Ouch. When Smith got word of the report from his former QB coach this was his response, per USA Today:
“It’s untrue in all things,” Smith told USA TODAY Sports. “I heard about it (Monday) night when my quarterbacks coach called me to tell me about it.”
“You’re going to get an extremely hard-working, character guy. I don’t get in trouble. I’m not a flashy guy,” Smith said. “Once I get into an organization, I’m going to work morning to night to lead my team ultimately to win Super Bowls.
“That’s really my lifelong dream.”
Smith’s QB coach Jake Spavital also weighed in on Smith as a prospect:
“I was laughing with Geno about it Monday night and I said, ‘Welcome to the business,”’ Spavital told USA TODAY Sports.
“I’ve been around Geno for two years. I thought he was one of the hardest-working quarterbacks I’ve ever been around.
“You have people who are about ‘What can football do for me?’ Geno is about ‘What I can do for football?’ If you take the game away from him, I think he dies,” Spavital added.
“He is a dream come true for a coach.”
It should be noted that Nawrocki released a similarly negative scouting report for Cam Newton before the Carolina Panthers selected him first overall, and Newton responded with one of the most impressive rookie seasons for a QB ever.
There are going to be doubters of Smith’s ability everywhere, but what really matters is how well he is able to use the criticism as motivation. Smith has a lot of ability and will most likely be selected high in the draft in a few weeks. and after that it’s on him to prove the doubters wrong. He has all the motivation needed to do so.
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