West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith shined by completing 60-of-64 throws at his pro day in front of NFL scouts Thursday in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Smith, who is considered to be one the best quarterback prospects in the 2013 draft, got off to slow start. He threw a 40-yard pass that had a lot of air under the ball and as the receiver turned to catch the ball, it got entrapped by a net hanging from the ceiling.
“That net’s the best defender in the building,” Smith said jokingly after the workout to reporters.
Smith, who threw for 4,205 yards and led the nation with 42 touchdown passes in 2012, also had two passes dropped and he overthrew two receivers, but managed to stay composed and have an impressive performance for the rest of the pro day.
“Overall, I’ve had a fun time with this,” Smith said. “I guess we’ll see on draft day where that goes.”
Smith just participated in last month’s NFL scouting combine, where he was limited to about 10-to-15 throws. One dimension that Smith displayed to scouts on Thursday was the ability to take snaps under center since he primarily worked out of a shotgun formation during his collegiate career with the Mountaineers. This allowed him to show his footwork, move around the pocket and throw to all areas of the field.
“It was a lot easier than the combine,” Smith said. “For one, I wasn’t up for three days straight before doing this. I was able to get some rest just being back in Morgantown, which is my comfortable environment, and feeling good.”
Smith has former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke to thank for putting together a powerful workout that highlighted his skill set. Weinke is now the director of the IMG Football Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
There were 29 NFL teams in attendance to take a look at Smith, but they also got a chance to look at wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Austin and Smith did not participate in the agility drills that were organized at the pro day.
The 5-foot-8 Smith ran 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash at last month’s NFL scouting combine, which was tied for the second-fastest time. He set the West Virginia school record with 2,910 all-purpose yards and ranked second nationally. Bailey led the nation with 25 TD receptions and was third with 1,622 receiving yards.
But Austin’s main goal was to show scouts that his size will not be a detriment in the NFL. Austin and Bailey will have a private workout with the Panthers on Friday.
After working out, Smith met with representatives from the Jacksonville Jaguars and said that he plans to visit at least another dozen NFL teams before the draft in April. He has a March 22 meeting with the Buffalo Bills and held a private workout with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this week.
“I do believe I have a good skill set,” Smith said. “The main thing they want to see is how I react in the classroom.”
It remains uncertain where Smith will land, but many analysts for now predict him as the only lottery quarterback, which could change within the next month.