For the second time in three years, Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki has taken it upon himself to warn us of the dangers of that most suspect of characters -- the highly athletic top quarterback draft prospect. In his draft report detailing the pros and cons of West Virginia's Geno Smith -- the consensus top QB pick in this year's NFL draft -- Nawrocki takes off from the tape and gets personal.
"Not a student of the game. Nonchalant field presence — does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire. Mild practice demeanor — no urgency. Not committed or focused — marginal work ethic. Interviewed poorly at the Combine and did not show an understanding of concepts on the white board. Opted not to compete at the Senior Bowl and has approached offseason training as if he has already arrived and it shows in his body with minimal muscle definition or strength ... Needed to be coddled in college — cannot handle hard coaching.
"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."
Before the 2011 draft, Narwocki made waves with some similarly scathing critiques of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton -- who went on to set several rookie passing records with the Carolina Panthers.
“Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law — does not command respect from teammates and will always struggle to win a locker room . . . Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example. Immature and has had issues with authority. Not dependable.”
Now, what we don't know is where Nawrocki is getting this stuff. We assume he's talking to NFL teams, because if he isn't, he's making it up -- unless he's in the room with NFL teams during combine interviews, which we tend to doubt. That's the first problem with the "analysis" that doesn't come strictly from tape -- the lack of clear and credible sources. If you poll a room full of NFL scouts, coaches, and executives about any player, you'll get a pretty divergent set of opinions. It's then your job as the analyst in question to vet those opinions, decide what's accurate and relevant, and present your version.
The second problem in this case is the overwhelming evidence in Smith's favor.
Jake Spavital, Texas A&M's current quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator, spent the last two seasons coaching West Virginia's quarterbacks, including and especially Geno Smith. Spavital is one of the most respected offensive minds in the college game, and he couldn't say enough about Smith's willingness to prepare, and how that manifested itself in game situations.Read More »from PFW draft guide clobbers another top QB prospect with questionable personal attacks