Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Scouting the 2014 NFL Draft: Brett Smith

This is obviously a very interesting year for underclassmen quarterbacks to declare for the draft. The draftniks can't stop talking about them. There is Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, and of course, Brett Smith. Who? You know, Brett Smith, star quarterback of the Wyoming Cowboys. Still not ringing a bell? Alright, you're probably not alone. I had heard about Brett Smith, but I'll admit, I failed to watch a single snap of Wyoming football this season. I decided to break down his game by looking at his performances against Nebraska and Northwest rival, Idaho.

If you're buying into Smith, you're buying the accuracy. He does a nice job of leading his receivers on crossing routes over the middle.

My one concern is that when I did see him missing passes over the middle, it was always high. Those are balls that will turn into interceptions, so he needs to tighten things up a little bit. Still, as I said, he is usually accurate with his throws and does a nice job of leading receivers on short-to-intermediate routes.

He is a good athlete that is a threat to run with the ball as he shows here.

It's nothing special, but he accelerates well and runs into the open field and shows that he has solid mobility that will benefit him. I still would not consider him a dual-threat quarterback despite putting up some pretty solid running stats.

On the negatives side, he is not real smooth in his motions. Sometimes he can look a little robotic out there when setting his feet. Also, there is not much velocity on his throws. It really looks like he is pushing a lot of his passes to his receivers instead of driving them toward his intended target.

Speaking of that, I'm also not a fan of the sidearm delivery. Yes, there have been other quarterbacks who have been successful with it, but it requires that quarterback to be great at everything else to have a chance at success. It can work in a west coast offense that is built on timing, but with the way he waits for his receivers to get open, I have a hard time seeing him succeed with the tools he has shown.

This is a perfectly placed ball down the field, but the velocity on the throw leaves something to be desired.

It really reminds me of what Kellen Moore was able to do for Boise State a few years ago in that the deep balls were not pretty, but they were effective at the college level. This is probably the best ball I saw him throw, as it's not a terrible arc and it is right on the money.

This next pass is one of the worst throws I've ever seen from a college quarterback.

That is like a Tecmo Bowl pass where it just stays in the air forever. If somebody is throwing up a hail mary, I understand. If someone is throwing it 70 yards, I can understand. It went about 42 yards in the air. It is the most arm punt pass I have ever seen.

Back to the positive which includes good pocket presence as he feels pressure well while still keeping his eyes down the field. This play is not pretty, but he does maintain his composure to find the open receiver, but he's a split second late on getting rid of the ball and can't make a proper throw on the pass.

Still, he makes subtle movements to give himself about an extra second before the rush gets there, and he does identify the right receiver to get the ball to. Most college quarterbacks put their heads down in that situation, so it is nice that he can keep his eyes down field, even if the ball still falls incomplete. Still, this is a consistent skill he has shown, as seen on this play, which ends slightly better than the first one.

He not only does a good job of moving within the pocket, but he has a good sense on when to leak outside of the pocket to look for some space. All the while, he keeps his eyes down the field, so he is able to make a nice pass inside the red zone.

Despite him having good pocket awareness and accurate throws, the other issue that is going to hurt him is that he waits for receivers to get open instead of leading them open. Throwing windows are very small for the most part, so waiting that extra little bit to see a receiver open instead of anticipating him to get open will really hurt him at the next level.

On this breakdown, I didn't use as much video as normal, because the bad things are evident on every throw. The arm strength just isn't there. At that point, you are really limiting your offense and every pass of any decent yardage becomes a real adventure. I mentioned him earlier, and I truly believe the best comp for him is Kellen Moore. They do just about everything right but simply don't have the physical tools to be a successful quarterback. They deserve a great amount of respect for reaching the levels of success they achieved; my arm strength only took me to elementary recess quarterback before I learned that my noodle arm was not going to be enough to stretch 11-person defenses. Still, he's a guy you can take a late round flyer on in a west coast system where he can be a competent backup, but nobody you ever want playing meaningful minutes.

Here are my quarterback rankings for the prospects I have looked at so far:
1. Teddy Bridgewater - Louisville

2. Blake Bortles - Central Florida
3. Zach Mettenberger - Louisiana State
4. Logan Thomas - Virginia Tech

5. Brett Smith - Wyoming
6. Aaron Murray - Georgia

No comments:

Post a Comment