You are an NFL general manager and you need a quarterback in the NFL draft.
Is West Virginia University’s Geno Smith your man?
There’s pressure on you to make the right move.
You are making your choice after Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson came into the NFL a year earlier and with visions in Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow of what it’s like when you make the wrong choice still vividly evident.
You watched all the film you could ever ask for of Geno Smith, the college quarterback, and you saw two different players. There were games when he was a top-five pick and games when you wouldn’t dare use a first-round pick on him.
You probably decided with NFL coaching he can become the quarterback who hit Stedman Bailey on those wonderful deep patterns consistently while finding Tavon Austin off in the flat where he could shake loose from a linebacker or safety and turn a 4-yard pass into a 40-yard touchdown.
You weren’t worried about the arm or the accuracy.
But what of the person? What of the intellect, the attitude, the confidence?
Could he handle the heat that comes with playing quarterback in the NFL, the microscope under which the media places him, and could he become the NFL quarterback of the future, the kind of quarterback who could run the standard pro offense along with the emerging zone-read system that is spreading through the league?
Let me tell you … he can do it all, and he let those who will be making those decisions know that in no uncertain terms.
“I think I have the skill set that fits any offense,” Smith said to the media at the NFL Scouting Combine last Friday. “I can play within the pocket, but I’m athletic enough to run that style of offense.”
Don’t get him wrong. It isn’t begging to play in that style of offense.
“I have the ability to. I don’t think that’s my game. I don’t think my game is predicated around that. If a coach wants me to, I’ll definitely be all for it.”
As if to emphasize that, he went out and ran at 4.59 40, making him the fastest quarterback on the grounds.
So read that!
In truth, Smith knows what he possesses. He was at the head of the class in high school and he was at the head of the class in college, and there is little debate that he’s at the head of this draft class, although how that stacks up against other draft classes diminishes that to some degree.
Or does it?
“I’m totally confident in my abilities,” Smith said. “I’m not cocky or trying to say I’m this all-world player right now, because I have many areas where I need to grow. But I do feel like I have a great, tremendous skill set and that I have an opportunity to showcase that.
“You can watch the tape and see all the throws I make. Obviously, I can make every throw on the field. That still needs to be improved. Inconsistency is something that I struggled with, I believe. ... Overall, I believe my skill set is one that is tailored for any offense.”
This is so typical of the quarterback we came to know in Morgantown, supremely confident yet fully aware that there is room to grow … understanding that he is no different than any other college graduate stepping off into the professional world, knowing there is so much to learn about the profession of his choice be it engineering, teaching, reporting or, yes, quarterbacking.
The difference is that those careers give you a lifetime to learn about them, while you have the summer as a quarterback.
Even before he performed at the NFL combine — which some quarterbacks in the past have skipped — Smith was certain that he was the best there was this year, and he wasn’t about to buy that it mattered what kind of quarterback class this one was.
Asked in a radio interview if he believed he was at the top, he offered a straightforward answer.
“Yes I do,” he said. “That’s no disrespect to anyone, but I consider myself one of the best at what I do. You talk about this class and there are some great guys out there, but my goal is to always separate myself from the rest of the group and my goal is to be the best wherever I am.
“Once I go to the next level I’m going to compete, going to work, and my goal is going to be to be the best in the NFL. I just want to make sure people know that I have a goal, I have ambitions, and I’m going to work until I get there.
“I’m not a guy who is cocky or over the top with it,” he continued. “I’m a very humble guy, quiet, and I keep to myself, but when it comes down to football, this is something that I love to do, and quite honestly, I want to be the best at it.”
You listen to that, add it to what you’ve seen, and there really isn’t any reason not to select Geno Smith in the first round of the NFL draft.
Email Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.
You are an NFL general manager and you need a quarterback in the NFL draft.
COLUMN: Extend summer practices without over-extending athletes
Last week we told you about a proposal that would extend the summer practice period for West Virginia high schools.
It’s already cleared the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Board of Control. Now it’s up to the West Virginia Board of Education to decide if the current three-week window should be expanded by five weeks.
Bussie looks forward to WNBA
On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball
It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.
Pirates finish off suspended game, fall in nightcap
Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole’s winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete
The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.
East can’t overcome No. 7 Lincoln, falls, 4-0
Thunder clouds weren’t the only thing looming over the East Fairmont (6-6) softball team Monday when the Lady Bees hosed No. 7 Lincoln. Joining the ominous clouds was a sense of urgency for energy that never showed up as Lincoln was able to shut out East Fairmont, 4-0.
Gyorko, Padres agree to extension
Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.
HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved
From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.
WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI
There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.
FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage
There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.
- More Sports Headlines
- COLUMN: Extend summer practices without over-extending athletes