Harris: Senior Bowl snub won't hurt Smith
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Yes, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith probably assumed a little too much when he bypassed the Senior Bowl. It would have been nice if Smith had shown up and performed for NFL coaches, scouts and executives in attendance.
But look at things from Smith's side. He's still regarded as the top quarterback in April's NFL Draft.
Quarterbacks E.J. Manuel, Ryan Nassib, Tyler Wilson and Mike Glennon didn't bomb at the Senior Bowl, but they didn't make anyone forget Smith — other than wonder why he wasn't present.
In hindsight, Smith took a big-time gamble — call it a leap in faith — and ended up winning the lottery.
“I was surprised to hear that Smith did not go to the Senior Bowl. He could have greatly helped his stock, but based on the performances of the quarterbacks there, it will not impact his pecking order among QBs,” said Dave-Te' Thomas, the NFL's official draft researcher and biographer who has worked for the league since 1968 and operates Scouting Services Inc. “He will still be the first quarterback off the board, but likely mid- to late-round one.”
If Kansas City doesn't snag Smith with the No. 1 overall pick, look for Arizona to grab him at No. 7.
“He didn't want to play in the Senior Bowl,” said Damon Cogdell, a former WVU linebacker who coached Smith at Miramar High School in suburban Miami. “People always have to have something to talk about. That's what they're talking about, him not showing up for the Senior Bowl. The way he throws the football, his workouts are going to be phenomenal.”
A year after Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson took the draft by storm, Smith is the next best thing.
“My goal is to be the best,” Smith told me right after playing his final college game against Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. “One thing that NFL teams should know is I'm prepared to put the work in to be the best. I'm not going to stop until I am.”
Asked why he declined to play in the Senior Bowl, Smith replied confidently: “My career as a whole, I'd like to think I did some pretty good things. I almost got 100 touchdowns (98 career touchdown passes) and less than 20 interceptions (21). That's a pretty good career. I think I did a great job.”
“I think he's a guy that in time will end up being a very good starting quarterback in the NFL,” said Mike Detillier, creator and owner of the annual Mike Detillier's Draft Report. Detillier rates Smith as the No. 9 overall prospect in the draft.
“He's got all the physical tools, all the intangibles that you're looking for,” Detillier said. “But more importantly, his maturity and leadership on a team that was built on scoring points, but he didn't get a lot of help on the other side of the ball.”
Smith became a scapegoat during WVU's five-game losing streak following a 5-0 start. The Mountaineers ranked 119th out of 120 FBS teams in pass defense, overshadowing Smith's second consecutive 4,000-yard passing campaign and a high-octane offense boasting a pair of 100-catch receivers.
It was good preparation for what life will be like at the next level for Smith.
He got all of the credit when things went great, but he also received all of the blame when things went bad — even when it wasn't his fault.
Welcome to the NFL.
“I can't really sway peoples' opinions about me,” said Smith, who's training with about three dozen high-profile draft hopefuls, including Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel, Florida State's Bjoern Werner, Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, Wisconsin's Montee Ball and Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. “Everyone has their own opinion. People are going to like me. People are going to dislike me. That's the way the world works.”
It looks like Smith has the pro football world right where he wants it: in his capable hands.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Big plays cost Steelers defense in 43-19 preseason loss at Bills
- Walk-off single moves Pennsylvania team into LLWS title game
- Strong-armed outfielder Garcia growing into all-around threat
- Shale gas violations down as DEP steps up inspections
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle’s faith in Polanco pays off
- Shaler man’s effort restores glory to flag display at Millvale post office
- MLB notebook: Dodgers voice Scully set to end 67-year run in 2016
- QB Vick hits ground running in debut
- Shaler man charged with homicide, abuse of corpse in McKeesport woman’s death
- Architecture: Pittsburgh history in 10 houses
- Man arrested in deputy’s ambush