Draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki blasted Smith in terms more harsh than anyone can remember. Well, then again, this is the same person who wrote that Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton would be a bust.
Nawrocki wrote that Smith, from West Virginia, is”not a student of the game,” “does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire,” is “not committed or focused” and “cannot handle hard coaching.”
“A cross between (busts) 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,” Nawrocki also wrote.
To his credit, Smith remained poised, telling USA Today, simply, “It’s untrue in all things.”
Meanwhile, his former quarterbacks, Jake Spavital, was more vocal, saying Smith could “start in the NFL from day one.”
Spavital, now Johnny Manziel’s quarterbacks coach at Texas A&M, told USA Today that he was “laughing” with Smith when discussing the report and told the quarterback, “Welcome to the business.”
Spavital called Smith, who led the nation with 42 touchdown passes this past season, a “dream come true for a coach.”
“I thought he was one of the hardest-working quarterbacks I’ve ever been around,” he told USA Today. “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.”
Smith visited the Kansas City Chiefs, who own the No. 1 overall pick, on Monday and Tuesday. He reportedly will visit the Philadelphia Eagles, who own the No. 4 overall selection, on Wednesday.
All but three teams attended his pro day on March 14, when Smith completed 60 of 64 passes.