On Monday, Pro Football Weekly’s Nolan Nawrocki released a dual scouting report of a pair of quarterbacks that are expected to be the best players at the position in this year’s draft: USC’s Matt Barkley and West Virginia’s Geno Smith.
And while there were twice as many positives from Nawrocki on Barkley than there were negatives, it’s a completely different story in Nawrocki’s synopsis of Smith. Among the sixteen negatives: “Not a student of the game… Not committed or focused – marginal work ethic… Needed to be coddled in college – cannot handle hard coaching.”
Naturally, NFL Network and Fox Sports college football analyst Charles Davis, along with NFLN resident scout Daniel Jeremiah, seized the opportunity to explain why Nawrocki’s vibe on Smith, quoting Davis, “does not jive” with what they’ve witnessed.
“This is a kid who is a student of the game,” Davis asserts. “This is a young man who wants to learn, wants to get better all the time, can’t get enough football. He will finish games, and go right to the film room, and go over the tape of that game, and get ready for the next one.”
Davis previously praised Smith’s work ethic when he dubbed him a “film rat” during an interview on a Cleveland sports radio station earlier this year.
“He’s the one bothering coaches for the game plan on Sunday,” Davis continued, “so that he can get it to his receivers, and they can get going, and get motivated that way.
“This does not match up with the Geno Smith I spent time with last summer.”
Davis also countered Nawrocki’s claim that Smith “needed to be coddled in college.”
“Dana Holgorsen? You’ve been around Dana Holgorsen,” Davis told Jeremiah. “Coaches hard, okay, and that’s what he’s going to do.”
Jeremiah also had his say, backing up Davis’ thoughts on Smith’s conscientiousness.
“‘He’s not a film junkie’ – that’s not what I got from scouts… They said, after games were completed, he would still go back into the film room that very night, and watch tape.”
Jeremiah also cited Smith’s attendance at the Manning Passing Academy camp last summer, noting his tendency to ask Eli and Peyton Manning “the perfect questions,” adding: “He was more in tune with what he needed to learn from these guys than anybody else in the room.”
Including one Matt Barkley – who, by the way, Nawrocki sees being drafted in the first round, with Smith settling for a “top 50 pick.”
We’ll learn in three weeks if an NFL team drafts Smith in the first 1 1/2 rounds, thus making Nolan Nawrocki, well, a jive turkey.