The Times West Virginian

Sports

March 15, 2013

Smith impresses scouts on NFL Pro Day

MORGANTOWN — As coaches, executives and scouts from 29 NFL teams — Arizona, Dallas and Seattle had better things to do — looked on, Geno Smith had his best passing day since the Baylor game on NFL Pro Day at West Virginia University.

“Baylor was probably a little bit better,” he would admit after it was over and he had completed – you might want to sit down before you hear this, although you must understand there was no defense going against him – 60 of 64 passes.

Of course, in Baylor, with 11 so-called defenders out there, all Smith could do was complete 45 of 51 passes for 656 yards – that is not a typo – no interceptions and eight touchdowns.

Is it any wonder, having that day on his resume, that Smith would downplay the importance of the way he threw the ball to the same receivers – Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, J.D. Woods, Ryan Nehlen and Shawne Alston.

Former quarterback Ron Jaworski said on the ESPN set that “anyone who watched this workout today understands this guy is a Top 10 pick.”

“The scouts don’t need to see me throw,” he said. “They’ve seen it in games; they’ve seen it on tape. The main thing is I get into the classroom with them, let them understand who I am, my personality and my character,” Smith said.

Far more important, he believes, is that they get to know the other him … not the one who throws the ball but the one who lives his life and who prepares until there is nothing left to prepare for, who is obsessed with becoming not just an NFL quarterback, but a big-time NFL quarterback.

That was why what he did after tossing the ball around was so important, and that was to meet with the Jacksonville Jaguars and their coach, Gus Bradley, for more than an hour.

He wants to make sure they know all there is about him, such as how what he does on the field is the result of preparation and long, hard hours in the film room.

“That’s the biggest part for me. My game is from the neck up. I’ve done things physically you kind of wow at, but I won games by making decisions. You can’t make dumb plays or mistakes. We all make them, but you have to try to limit them,” he said.

He believes he got his point across.

“They all are impressed. I do believe I have a really good skill set and can spin the ball with the best of them. It’s not an issue of can I make all the throws. I can make that. The main thing they want to see is how I react in the classroom, how much of the offense was I in control of, what things did I do in my offense and in my college career that can translate into the NFL.

“We didn’t do any board work in the meeting. We watched a little bit of tape, but really just talked.”

Smith’s goal for this day was to make improvement over what he showed at the Combine.

“Coming out of the Combine people wanted to see me improve in my footwork. They haven’t seen much of me under center. It’s something they all want to see, including myself. I’d like to see how I react to that,” he said.

There were 16 players in all who worked out on the day, Austin being there to show his route-running ability and then staying late to return punts, while Bailey was trying to make up for some drops at the Combine and improve his draft position from what is said to be a potential third round selection.

“It’s like I can’t get rid of Stedman and Tavon,” Smith joked, having worked out with them a day earlier. “They are everywhere with me. It’s been a lot of fun with those guys, chasing our dreams.”

If anyone made headway in this Pro Day it was wide receiver Ryan Nehlen, who had scouts talking about his unexpected athleticism and ability to catch the ball.

Nehlen had been stuck behind the Austin, Bailey and J.D. Woods among the WVU wide receivers, but the numbers he put up in drills were startling.

His 39-inch vertical leap was 4.5 inches higher than any other player who worked out; his 40 time of 4.53 matched defensive back Cecil Level for the day’s best, ahead of Pat Miller and J.D. Woods, who both ran better than 4.6.

Nehlen’s standing broad jump off 11-1 was four inches better than anyone else’s while his 20-yard shuttle run of 4.12 was the day’s best along with 11.18 60-yard shuttle.

Smith isn’t sure what his future holds between now and draft day.

“As of right now I would expect 10 to 12 interviews, maybe even more. I had a workout Monday with the Eagles that went well and I have something coming up with the Bills on the 22nd,” he said.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com of follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Morgan Hoke -ts.jpg Polar Bear tennis sweeps East: PHOTOS

    Last week East Fairmont’s girls’ tennis team beat Fairmont Senior, 4-3.
    Wednesday at Fairmont State University, the Polar Bears returned the favor with a 5-2 win over their cross-town rival.
    Alissa Link won No. 1 singles, 8-4. Morgan Hoke won No. 3 singles, 9-7. And Avery Towns won No. 4 singles, 8-5, for the Polar Bears.

    April 24, 2014 8 Photos

  • Falcons set for spring game

    Football is back … well, kind of.
    Today at 7 p.m., Fairmont State will hold its annual Maroon & White spring game at Duvall-Rosier Field. The scoreboard won’t mean a whole lot since it’s little more than a glorified scrimmage. Instead, here are five things to watch during today’s game.

    April 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age

    The other day Baylor football coach Art Briles walked into his graduate assistants’ office and had to laugh at what he saw.
    “There’s five guys sitting in there — a couple of GA’s and some office personnel — and they all are within a foot and a half of each other and not a one of them is talking to each other,” Briles said, describing the scene “Every one of them is on the phone.”

    April 24, 2014

  • Hillberry commits to Wesleyan

    Last year Emma Harrison and Kaitlyn Conaway teamed up with Alexis Hillberry to win several relay medals at the state track meet.
    Though the two West Virginia Wesleyan runners are now in college, they helped to pass the baton to Hillberry Wednesday when she signed her National Letter of Intent to join her former teammates on the Bobcats’ track team.

    April 24, 2014

  • O’Brien leads WVU baseball past Marshall

    Catcher Cam O’Brien made a bid at becoming only the second West Virginia University player to hit for the cycle as the Mountaineers jumped on Marshall early and routed their in-state rival, 10-3, behind strong pitching from Corey Walter and a pair of relievers.

    April 24, 2014

  • North, East softball earn blowout wins

    The North Marion softball team was at it again Wednesday night.
    Mattie Polling tripled and singled, starting pitcher Chelsi Latocha doubled and gave up just one hit as the Huskies rolled to another 3-inning mercy-rule victory over Lewis County, 18-1.

    April 24, 2014

  • Simon, Bruce lead Reds past Bucs, 5-2

    Alfredo Simon pitched into the seventh inning despite erratic control, Jay Bruce drove in a run for a fifth consecutive game and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 Wednesday night.
    Simon (3-1) worked 6 2-3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits and five walks while striking out four.

    April 24, 2014

  • Pens squander lead, fall to Columbus

    Brandon Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and Nick Foligno’s wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

    April 24, 2014

  • FSHS #32, 29-BU #15-TS.jpg Cousins Sansalone, Craig lead Polar Bears past B-U: PHOTOS

    They say you don’t mess with family. Buckhannon-Upshur found that one out the hard way.

    April 23, 2014 7 Photos

  • Gabbi Mascaro Signing -md.jpg Mascaro signs with FSU

    Gabi Mascaro is staying in Fairmont.
    After considering several out-of-state colleges, the Fairmont Senior soccer standout signed her National Letter of Intent Tuesday to continue her career at Fairmont State University, an upstart program which will play its first games in 2015.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos