The recent assessment from draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki that former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is ““Not a student of the game,” “Not committed or focused” and has a “marginal work ethic” has been dissected so thoroughly that Smith’s body of work on the field has been largely overlooked.
And overlooking the way a football player plays football is probably not a good idea.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock it really is the football side of things — not questions about his work ethic, character or anything else off the field — that could make Smith slide deeper in the draft than most people think.
“It’s absolutely the football side,” Mayock said on Path to the Draft. “Talk about the football issues: First of all, ball security, ties into the pocket awareness. Whatever that number is, 30, 32 fumbles in his career, he has no awareness of the rush surrounding him. So his pocket awareness — five sacks in the first half against Texas, three of them he could have gotten rid of the football easily, and one of them he was stripped of the football in the end zone for a touchdown. There’s no internal clock, there’s no feel.”
Mayock also said that while Smith threw a lot of long touchdown passes at West Virginia, he could have thrown a lot more if he didn’t miss open receivers downfield.
“Deep ball accuracy: I put a reel together of six to eight throws that should have been touchdowns, wide open vertical guys that he overthrew or underthrew,” Mayock said. “He stares down receivers and he throws the football late, so there’s a lack of anticipation and timing.”
Mayock said Smith has a big arm and is a good athlete, but that as a result of other problems, he would definitely not take Smith in the Top 10 and probably not in the Top 20. Where ever Smith lands in the draft, there are legitimate questions about him as a prospect. And those questions are primarily about the way he plays the quarterback position, on the field.