Talk about a bombshell of news.
Wyoming junior quarterback Brett Smith announced Friday night that he will forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
Smith is the third UW player in the “modern era” to do this. Cornerback Derrick Martin did it after his junior season in 2005. Martin, at the time, said he was projected to be a third or fourth-round draft pick. He went in the sixth round to the Baltimore Ravens. Since then he has played for eight years for five different teams and is currently with the Chicago Bears. Martin has had the most success playing on special teams.
Running back Alvester Alexander did so after his junior season of 2011. He has been on practice squads of a couple of NFL teams, most recently with the Pittsburgh Steelers this season. He has yet to have a carry in a NFL regular-season game.
Will Smith have the same or similar success as a NFL quarterback?
Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst said Smith is the No. 8 quarterback prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft, which is May 8-10, and is the first underclassman quarterback in college football to put his name in the draft.
“Smith, who is reminiscent of a more controlled version of (Texas A&M sophomore quarterback) Johnny Manziel, is a better athlete than given credit with deceiving mobility and very quick feet to be elusive in the pocket and avoid pressure. He has good-enough height (6-3) and has worked hard to bulk up his frame. Smith scans the field quickly, works through his read and does an excellent job recognizing soft spots in coverage pre-snap.He is a gutsy competitor who plays the game of football with a chip on his shoulder, and he’ll win over NFL coaches with his attitude, work ethic and overall football passion.
“Smith is extremely confident, but almost to a fault as he tests small passing windows too often, throwing into tight coverage and hoping for a positive play. He has good enough arm strength for the next level, but lack elite velocity especially when he can’t step into his throws. Smith can get jumpy and skittish in the pocket and needs to get his footwork under control. He is a high completion passer (62.7 percent as a junior), but his accuracy will dip when throwing on the run.”
Smith said during a phone interview Friday night that he sent paperwork to the NFL and its scouting department to get feedback on his draft prospects, but didn’t elaborate on what they said. He has not hired an agent, but plans to find a place to train for the draft.
Smith had to have received some positive feedback from the NFL or he would not have made this decision. He is a grounded young man with a good family. For his sake, I hope it is the right decision.
Smith would have worked through his third offensive coordinator at UW in 2014, and his second head coach. He said Friday night the recent coaching change had nothing to do with his decision, and that it was made on his own. In fact, Smith had a lot of good things to say about Bohl.
Still, one more year in college with a coach like newly hired Craig Bohl that runs more of a West Coast offense more suited to the professional game seemed to be a good move to me.
What do you think folks, good move or bad move, and what do you think of UW football moving forward. Redshirt sophomore Jason Thompson and true sophomore Tommy Thornton are the only two quarterbacks on scholarship for UW right now.
Thompson redshirted last year, and played a decent amount as a true freshman. He has some impressive physical tools, but is still learning to play the position. Same can be said about Thornton. On paper, Thompson is the guy heading into 2014.
For more on this story, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.