2014 NFL Draft: Brett Smith Scouting Report

By Derrik Klassen on Wednesday, April 23rd 2014
2014 NFL Draft: Brett Smith Scouting Report

College: Wyoming

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 206 pounds


Pocket Awareness and Movement: Smith shows wonderful ability to sense pass rushing pressure and diagnose a situation before it gets out of hand. In the face of oncoming rushers, Smith flashed the ability to sidestep defenders, find a new throwing lane, and deliver a clean pass. While doing so, he was able to keep his eyes downfield. Likewise, when forced out of the pocket? Smith does a good job of keeping his eyes locked downfield in search of an open receiver as he is mobile. Having such a veteran trait as a young prospect will make the transition to the professional level much smoother.

Athleticism: On tape, Smith is arguably the fastest quarterback in the class. Once he finds space and begins striding, he's as good as gone. He accelerates quickly and separates himself from defenders. One false step or a slightly skewed pursuit angle is enough for Smith to take advantage of and make the defender miss. He also showed lateral quickness as he was able to evade defenders on occasion with a quick step or two. Not only that, but unlike most other quarterbacks, Smith has the upper body strength to stuff arm some defenders. Smith's stiff arm victims includes Kenny Vaccaro, a recent first round pick at safety.


Mechanics: When watching Smith throw, one wonders if he is aware of which sport he is playing. He throws much like a baseball pitcher, leaning his upper body forward and even lifting his dominant leg. Doing so leads to poor ball placement at times because he is putting too much force behind the ball, making it much more difficult to careful place the throw. When throwing deep, he fails to generate torque. Instead, Smith lobs a pass and hopes that his man comes down with it.

Aside from his throwing form, Smith's footwork is jittery. Even when standing still in the pocket, he's constantly quick-stepping for no reason. If caught mid-step, Smith is forced to throw from an obscure platform without proper balance. While that may only happen two or three times per game, those throws could be crucial and easily avoidable.

Erratic: Although he senses pressure well, Smith has yet to learn how to consistently handle it. More often than not, Smith sees pressure and immediately bails the pocket, even if there was room to step up into the pocket. Bailing too early restricts routes from being ran to their fullest and turns plays into a scramble drill. In the NFL, Smith will have to tame that part of his game.

NFL Comparison: Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Although it is a rather trivial aspect of their similarity, both are/were "small school" prospects. In terms of play style and strengths, Smith wins in similar ways that Romo does, but is much more raw. That being said, their quick releases are still comparable regardless of Smith's stage of development.


Draft Outlook

Considering he was snubbed from the NFL Combine, Smith is unlikely to hear his name on the first two days of the draft. On the third day, Smith will be selected as a developmental backup. His athleticism is enticing and will certainly garner a fourth or fifth round pick from a team looking to gamble on a late round quarterback.


Best Fits

With Drew Brees not getting any younger, the New Orleans Saints could take a chance on Smith. He comes at a low cost, obviously will not have to start, and could potentially grow into a viable option as Brees' successor.

Last year, Nick Foles had one of the best single seasons for a quarterback in the past decade, but it was somewhat of an anomaly. Not that Foles needs to be replaced right now, but if the Philadelphia Eagles were to add a quarterback that fits Chip Kelly's style and has the potential to be a starter, especially in their scheme, Smith is their guy.

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