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Geno Smith’s draft stock could be more vulnerable to draftnik criticism

Geno AP

In 2011, Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly issued a blistering summary of Cam Newton’s demeanor, work ethic, and the authenticity of his smile.  It didn’t keep Newton from being the first overall pick in the draft.

Last year, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel trotted out assessments from unnamed scouts that Robert Griffin III is selfish and “doesn’t treat anybody good.”  None of that kept Griffin from being the second overall pick.

This year, Nawrocki’s biting (and by multiple accounts incorrect) assessment of Smith comes at a time when the player’s draft stock remains in flux.  If the Chiefs take Smith at No. 1, then they’re dumber than those who actually think they might.  But the Chiefs could finagle a trade, with one of the teams in the top 10 springing up to get Smith.  Alternatively, Smith could go to the Jaguars at No. 2, or the Raiders (or someone else after a trade) at No. 3, or the Eagles at No. 4, or at No. 5 via a trade down by the Lions, or the Browns at No. 6, or the Cardinals at No. 7, or the Bills at No. 8, or the Jets at No. 9.

If Smith gets past No. 9, he could slide all the way into the 20s.

As a result, the criticism could become a factor in a potential free fall, especially if teams are on the fence and owners get nervous about taking too big of a risk with a top-10 pick.

The problem with scouting reports from so-called draftniks is that, while many of them rely on their own assessment of a player’s game film, most if not all of them rely for off-field information on scouts who have rolled up the sleeves and tracked down the people in and around the various major college programs about the various prospects.  Scouts talk, for example, to head coaches, coordinators, position coaches, strength coaches, current and former teammates that like the guy, and current and former teammates that don’t like him.

The best scouts go even farther, talking to landlords and neighbors and the guy who washes the towels in the weight room and the lady who empties the trash cans in the film room and the clerk at the Kwik-E-Mart down the street from the player’s apartment to find out how the player behaves when the player thinks no one who can impact their career is watching.

Scouts get that stuff first hand.  Draftniks, who don’t have the time or the resources to do this stuff on their own, usually rely on those who have harvested the information.  Todd McShay of ESPN essentially admitted that on the air Tuesday, explaining that he has 10 or 12 scouts on whom he relies for the non-film information.

The problem, however, is that scouts can say whatever they want to say — and many will talk poorly about a player they’d love to see slide, and talk glowingly about a player they’d love to see someone else take at a higher spot.

When a draft expert produces a scouting report that looks like a scouting report but that relies on the second-hand assessment of a scout who has an incentive to be less than forthcoming, the information necessarily becomes less reliable.  It’s a flaw in the process that only will be fixed when media companies hire full-blown scouting staffs who do the same work in the same way that the NFL teams do it.

Until then, it’s impossible to rely completely on the assessments that are shared with draft experts by unnamed scouts, since it’s impossible to know their true motivations.  Here’s hoping that the teams thinking about drafting Geno Smith opt to trust their own information, and not to worry about media and fan reaction to the pick based on a published assessment that easily could be skewed.

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48 Responses to “Geno Smith’s draft stock could be more vulnerable to draftnik criticism”
  1. garryjercia says: Apr 3, 2013 11:07 AM

    He was right about cam though

  2. logicalvoicesays says: Apr 3, 2013 11:07 AM

    He will be the 1st QB drafted and if he goes to the right situation, he can potentially be a top 3 QB in professional Football.

  3. tripoint9109 says: Apr 3, 2013 11:09 AM

    With the #4 selection in the draft the Philadelphia Eagles select Geno Smith

  4. leggett17 says: Apr 3, 2013 11:12 AM

    Basically if you are White and criticize a black QB you are a rascist. It’s all part of our White guilt country. No go watch that movie about the Black airman in WW2, or perhaps that one about the fastest swimmers in human history but alas were not allowed to compete. Good day now.

  5. smartanis says: Apr 3, 2013 11:13 AM

    The Cam Newton clusterfudge was almost excusable, because even though Nawrocki was clearly digging hard and making it personal, others had similar criticisms of Newton.

    The Smith mess is inexcusable. No other writer or draftnik has drawn any of the same conclusions that Nawrocki has, and Nawrocki has not backed up his claims at all. PFW needs to find itself a draftnik who doesn’t weigh skin color as heavily as he does arm strength in highly-rated QBs.

  6. varnbo says: Apr 3, 2013 11:14 AM

    Criticism of players at the top of the draft, right or wrong, happens every year, especially if that player is a QB.

    This article wasn’t penned because of what school Smith played for, was it?

  7. radrntn says: Apr 3, 2013 11:15 AM

    nothing against Geno, but fact is there are guys that are better players that can contribute right now that will be selected before him….He will go to team that has the luxury of burning a pick and wait on his development. Teams at the top , don’t have that luxury, they need players now.

  8. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Apr 3, 2013 11:19 AM

    I really don’t think any teams that are thinking about drafting Geno Smith are relying on what something called Nolan Nawrocki says about him.

  9. stillers1229 says: Apr 3, 2013 11:19 AM

    Remember a few years ago Aaron Curry was the “can’t miss” prospect? I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have a job at the moment.

  10. finleye says: Apr 3, 2013 11:22 AM

    Nolan simply regurgitates info that ‘league insiders’ say to him under the veil of anonymity, so… take it for what its worth… it’s smokescreen season. My only question is: does Nolan know he is getting played? Is he complicit in it?

  11. eventhorizon04 says: Apr 3, 2013 11:22 AM

    Random writer alleges that Geno was uncoachable, lazy, and lacked leadership.

    Geno’s college coach at West Virginia, athletic trainer (who currently trains Heisman Winner Johnny Manziel), and teammates such as Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey (who are likely going to be drafted into the NFL) all say Geno was a terrific student of the game, a hardworker, and a terrific leader.

    I don’t love the guy as a prospect, but it seems pretty obvious who to believe.

  12. snaponrules says: Apr 3, 2013 11:25 AM

    Nolan Nawrocki’s assessment of Cam Newton was spot on. As was his assessment of RGIII, who he gave glowing reviews too.
    Yes we know Geno and his buddy’s dont like the opinion this guy has of him. Then Geno needs to prove the guy wrong.

  13. m3dman3 says: Apr 3, 2013 11:26 AM

    The fact of the matter is, nobody can predict how a player will transition to the next level i.e. Ryan Leaf, Jamarcus Russell, Tom Brady.

  14. blacknole08 says: Apr 3, 2013 11:28 AM

    See, my issue with these “experts” assessments of these guys is that they make these generalizations about them without ever meeting them face to face.

    In the case of Nawrocki, he made those statements without meeting or saying one word to Cam. Not one. Your talking about a young kids reputation and character here without having even giving them a fair chance?

    And clearly, they were wrong about RG3.

    I question if these guys are just against having Black QBs being high draft picks.

  15. gosfvr says: Apr 3, 2013 11:32 AM

    For those thinking skin color played a part in Geno Smith’s assessment, I wonder what the pre draft book was on Ryan Leaf.
    I am asking, I really don’t know

  16. ljl2 says: Apr 3, 2013 11:33 AM

    So what does it mean that Mike Mayock was on 92.3 in Cleveland this morning defending that report and saying he is one of the best draft guys with tons of sources when he does draft reports and stand behind what was said?

  17. footballfather says: Apr 3, 2013 11:41 AM

    I don’t think Smith being drafted in the 20’s would be a “slide.” That would probably be right where he should be drafted.

  18. mgdsquiggy17 says: Apr 3, 2013 11:44 AM

    “Random writer alleges that Geno was uncoachable, lazy, and lacked leadership.

    Geno’s college coach at West Virginia, athletic trainer (who currently trains Heisman Winner Johnny Manziel), and teammates such as Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey (who are likely going to be drafted into the NFL) all say Geno was a terrific student of the game, a hardworker, and a terrific leader.

    I don’t love the guy as a prospect, but it seems pretty obvious who to believe.”

    Do you really think they are going to openly bash the guy? Of course not. Not saying I believe the article but there are MANY times players/coaches/trainers/etc say a guy is great. Hell I remember them saying Colt Brennan was one of the best QB’s they had ever seen.

  19. catfanatic1979v1 says: Apr 3, 2013 11:46 AM

    Look, I LIVE in West Virginia and my favorite team is the JAGS. You would think I would be the biggest Geno Smith zealot in the nation but I’m not. Most of the WVU fans where I am from (the the southern portion of the state) don’t think he is a first round talent. Most everyone would agree he had two WR’s that will contribute at the NFL level but few believe Geno will succeed at the next level. It is hard to ignore how he fared against those conference teams and in that bowl game. He has some talent but not enough when it comes to overcoming middle tier defenses. Purely anecdotal I know, but if his own college fanbase isn’t sold then you probably shouldn’t be either.

  20. trojan33sc says: Apr 3, 2013 11:56 AM

    leggett17 says: Apr 3, 2013 11:12 AM

    Basically if you are White and criticize a black QB you are a rascist. It’s all part of our White guilt country. No go watch that movie about the Black airman in WW2, or perhaps that one about the fastest swimmers in human history but alas were not allowed to compete. Good day now.
    **********************************************
    You know leggett17, it would be more appropriate to find out “What” exactly this guy has to say about the White QB’s in the draft prior to giving this guy any credibility at all. If he only pops his head out of his cave to slam Black QB’s and no other evaluations then YES this guy has problems !!! Open your eyes, this is an ANNUAL event by someone that proves to NOT know what he’s talking about. Cam Newton and RGIII were slammed and to date have shown NO relevance to either one of the two critics. These guys have personal ISSUES Period !!!

  21. jose4040 says: Apr 3, 2013 12:14 PM

    As a big KC Fan here in AZ, I am hoping KC is not dumb enough to pick up Geno Smith. If they are smart they will trade down to Philly and pick up a 2nd round draft pick with it. Then use that pick to draft Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel or Star Lotulelei. They are going to need someone to defend Alex Smith.

  22. blkmanwtan says: Apr 3, 2013 12:16 PM

    I am seeing dudes saying he was spot on about Cam, how?
    All of the negative reports about Cam, came from journalist who report different for different teams, not out of Charlotte. That was also the case when he was at Auburn.
    Cam does have a maturity issue with the sulking and how he displayed himself after loses, but lets not act like Narwalki was 100% correct about Cam, he was more like 5%.
    The problem I have with this guy is he say, “they will”. How does he know? These kids are 22 year old kids who haven’t figured it out and will mature more with age, especially if they are in the right organization.

  23. siriusred67 says: Apr 3, 2013 12:19 PM

    No scouting department would base their opinion of a player on anything a sports writer says, nor should they.

  24. mungman69 says: Apr 3, 2013 12:25 PM

    Geno is a pretty good QB. But I don’t think that he is a top notch QB. Will he be drafted in the top ten? Damn right, everyone wants QB’s.

  25. justintuckrule says: Apr 3, 2013 12:26 PM

    Admittedly, I haven’t seen Smith take one snap. However, just looking at his face, demeanor and body structure, I see an NFL scrub.

  26. melikefootball says: Apr 3, 2013 12:31 PM

    Would be nice to see what players have to say of this guys character. How these kinds of commentators get so much power and responsable for nothing is beyond the average guy.

  27. bigdinla says: Apr 3, 2013 12:43 PM

    Issue I have with Geno is his accuracy. Read a break down of his pass attempts and he is less than 50% on passes over 7 yards.

  28. coolhandluke1 says: Apr 3, 2013 12:43 PM

    This time of year sports reporters and blogs tell us not to believe any information provided by scouts about NFL draft prospects…then they write 500 words about what scouts have to say about NFL draft prospects as if they have something important and insightful to say.

  29. whodat318 says: Apr 3, 2013 12:56 PM

    catfanatic1979v1 says:
    Apr 3, 2013 11:46 AM
    Look, I LIVE in West Virginia and my favorite team is the JAGS. You would think I would be the biggest Geno Smith zealot in the nation but I’m not. Most of the WVU fans where I am from (the the southern portion of the state) don’t think he is a first round talent. Most everyone would agree he had two WR’s that will contribute at the NFL level but few believe Geno will succeed at the next level.
    ___________________________________
    You have to be kidding me… I don’t think Geno Smith is the person to blame for West Virginia underachieving. You are talking about a guy with 4,205 passing yds, 42 TD’s, only 6 INT, 71.2% passes completed, and a QBR of 163.9 this season. How can you actually claim to be a WVU fan (he threw 31 TDS and 7 INT in 2011)? There offense has been phenomenal the past two seasons. Basically a highlight show every week. WVU played horribly defensively this year (108th in the country)! If they had a a top 50 defense at a minimum WVU may have played for the National Championship. When WVU had an average defense in 2011 they blewout Clemson 70-33 in a BCS bowl game!!! Do you even watch your favorite team? Coming from an LSU fan…

  30. greysolon says: Apr 3, 2013 12:59 PM

    If Geno Smith “freefalls” into the 20s it won’t be because of some internet writer.

    Every QB gets picked ABOVE his grade, simply because QBs are so valuable. Some team will like Smith enough to pick him in the first and that team will give him a chance to win the job. He will succeed or fail.

  31. jliskiew says: Apr 3, 2013 1:04 PM

    I think some of you are missing the broader point here. This article isn’t just about Nawrocki/Geno evals, its about challenging the MSM process.

    As of right now, we don’t get honest opinions from the WWL or NFLN b/c their evaluations are predicated on too many things outside of watching film.

    And when those things are not only half-truths passed on by people in the league, but are passed off by MSM as part of a draft “expert’s” actual personal analysis, we end up with problematic, erroneous and dishonest “reports.”

    It’d make more sense to have Kiper, McShay et al. give analysis based solely on film study and utilize Schefter, Clayton et al. to dig out the personal details on the prospects.

    The only problem with this – it forces the draft guys to become personally accountable…

    But enough of this “grading for draft weekend…” Teams grade for the future of their franchises, and the MSM should be doing a better job of following this approach as well.

  32. raideralex99 says: Apr 3, 2013 1:08 PM

    Who cares what a reporter writes but seriously 32 FUMBLES in his college career … any team that drafts him early is nuts.
    Ask Giants rookie David Wilson whats happens if you fumble once in the NFL.

  33. thatneuneu says: Apr 3, 2013 1:31 PM

    Compare Cam Newton’s first two years with any other QB’s first two years and tell me where he ranks by the numbers. And if we’re going to the Wins vs Losses argument, bear in mind he doesn’t DT or Safety and he isn’t managing the salary cap. The kid is an absolute weapon with plenty of room to grow. Nawrocki was NOT CLOSE to spot in his assessment of Cam Newton. Furthermore, reports of a QB being self centered should never scare anyone off. All the great ones are. Its the only way you can have bravado or swagger of a football leader. But maybe someone can answer this for me. Does Nawrocki ever give the same scathing critism of white QBs? I honestly don’t know because I don’t read his work.

  34. geo1113 says: Apr 3, 2013 1:31 PM

    jose4040 says:
    Apr 3, 2013 12:14 PM
    As a big KC Fan here in AZ, I am hoping KC is not dumb enough to pick up Geno Smith. If they are smart they will trade down to Philly and pick up a 2nd round draft pick with it. Then use that pick to draft Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel or Star Lotulelei. They are going to need someone to defend Alex Smith.
    ————————–

    It wouldn’t be a matter of the Chiefs being smart but rather a case of the Eagles being dumb. The impression I get is that the Eagles prefer E.J. Manuel to Geno Smith. They could overreach for him with the 4th pick and still have their 2nd round pick. Or they could take one of the players you mentioned or Dion Jordan and trade their 2nd and 3rd or 4th round picks to get to the mid to late first round and get Manuel.

  35. raideralex99 says: Apr 3, 2013 1:52 PM

    How come you can call down any player in the draft EXCEPT a black QB?
    I just find it funny and can’t figure it out. Everybody has different opinions and thats fine but holy crap say anything negative about a black QB and you get label a racist … comments get deleted … why?
    Every year its the same thing … just a different QB.
    I know the QB is the most important position and gets the most attention but seriously every single QB gets called down.
    Name me one QB that has not been called down.

  36. oldbyrd says: Apr 3, 2013 1:53 PM

    I don’t care what color you are, as long as when given your shot you perform. McNabb had many many good years for us. From watching to much TV and being a retired guy who was known for seeing thru people, my opinion is that Geno is a pretty good kid. I think he is a future starter. I don’t think he is a top 5 first round pick. Neither are any of the other QB’s . Id bet a lot that Geno is very coach able and will be fine in the NFL.

  37. qdog112 says: Apr 3, 2013 1:56 PM

    All that needs to be said about Geno Smith is 463 yards against a LSU defense stocked with NFL players.

    Nawrocki’s evaluation is laced with zero facts and appears based on his history, to be founded in bigotry. He has no credibility – NONE.

  38. oldlineman says: Apr 3, 2013 2:26 PM

    Well, its out there. Pretty harsh. There have been a few gurus, not many mind you, that have said no QB’s get picked in the 1st Rd. A better value in the 2nd this year. In a roundabout way, that’s very harsh too, considering Qb’s are often over- drafted. It will take a GM with big stones to go QB high this year.

  39. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 3, 2013 2:29 PM

    Nawrocki is pretty up front about the fact that his information comes from others. Most of the comments are in quotes.

    He is by far the best “draftnik” out there. Unless you want to include Gil Brandt in the category. Information coming from Nolan Nawrocki and Bob McGinn is about as good as it gets in this game.

  40. pacodawg says: Apr 3, 2013 3:20 PM

    My painter’s wife’s dog sitter says he’s a good guy.

  41. jackblackshairyback says: Apr 3, 2013 3:27 PM

    LMAO you think teams and scouts actually listen to what “draftniks” say?

    Tone down the ego there Mikey.

  42. pigskinwizzard says: Apr 3, 2013 3:30 PM

    Slow down everybody. Think about it.

    Every season, by the time we reach November, we realize that there are actually only about 8 exceptional quarterbacks in the league. The rest are just picking up the scraps.

    So this means the GMs, the so called “real experts”, apparently aren’t a whole lot better at predicting who “will be good” in the NFL either.

    And believe it or not . . . that’s why we watch.

  43. scmems07 says: Apr 3, 2013 3:34 PM

    Funny how people will selectively choose a time to pull the race card. Steven a smith said he would go after this guy if he said this about any young college prospect but yet i didn’t hear a peep when nolan blasted ryan mallet or jimmy clausen, his reviews on those two mirrored the ones on newton and smith. Bomani jones, who i feel is one of the most racist reporters, said this is a knock on black qb’s and calling nolan out on his perceptions of race at that position, but still didn’t bring up the other white qb’s that he negatively scouted. Oh, and how fortunate that in all this his positive scouting on players like marcus Lattimore about how hard of a worker he is and a great leader just somehow gets over looked. Unbelievable.

  44. scmems07 says: Apr 3, 2013 3:45 PM

    Thatneuneu:
    I don’t remember reading anything about him questioning scam newtons abilities, just his personality and leadership, in which case he right. And by the numbers, rg3 and luck will blow by scam newton in both numbers and wins. Luck passed newtons numbers and led his team to the playoffs with worse talent around him. The whole cam doesn’t have a good team excuse is getting old, 2 wins in 2 years against teams with winning records is pitiful. Good qb’s lead their teams to wins and doesn’t throw their teams under the bus and demands change, getting coaches fired, when they lose.

  45. geo1113 says: Apr 3, 2013 3:52 PM

    “Outstanding intangibles — mature, grounded, motivated athlete with a professional makeup and work ethic. Quickly assimilated and earned the respect of his new teammates.”

    How is it possible that the racist, Nawrocki, said this about Russell Wilson!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. stillers1229 says: Apr 3, 2013 4:38 PM

    HA!

  47. thatneuneu says: Apr 3, 2013 4:43 PM

    No one knows if he’s racist just like no one knows if he’s not. Atleast no one on this page. I love when some white people claim that some black people are “playing the race card” everytime they express what they feel is possible racist behavior. Well i can’t stand when some white people play the “he’s playing the race card card.” Racisim still exist in some hearts and minds and to believe other wise most likely means you’ve never recieved that type of treatment or attitude. Me personally, I don’t too much concern myself with it until it personally effects me which Nawrocki doesn’t do. Now…
    @scmems07
    Its hard for Cam Newton to scam those 4,000yards passing, 700yards rushing a season he’s averaging. Thats a hell of a scam that i’m sure ATLEAST 25 other teams would want right now. I mean if those are a sign of poor work ethic! I mean WOW maybe he should practice one day huh..?!lol He has one less play off win as Matt Ryan. The same amount of playoff wins as Tony Romo and Andy Dalton. I hope you spew the same illogical venom at them at every given opportunity. Oh and when I stated to place his numbers against all other QBs first two years, thats only meant for QBs with two years of playing experience so Luck and RG3 really don’t belong in that conversation.

  48. scmems07 says: Apr 3, 2013 5:10 PM

    Really, he has the same as romo? Cause romo has 1 playoff win genius, and comparing him to qb’s who have at least taken their teams to the playoffs is really smart too. I love scam fans, they are so sensitive lol. Oh, and i said luck and rg3 WILL blow by him, not have blown by him, i mean they may have as many playoff wins as newton, but they got their team there and gave them a chance lol. I say scam because his rookie year there was no off season, no way to prepare for rookies other than a college report that he is big and mobile, defenses stacked the box, then after getting game tape and figuring him out, he didn’t throw for over 260 yards after game 5 his rookie year and this year all of his stats went down!

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