Ryan McCrystal

Geno Smith scouting report

Geno Smith QB West Virginia #12
Ht: 6’3″
Wt: 214

Size/Athleticism: Prototypical height. Slightly on the skinny side, but has shown he can take some hits. Can pick up some yardage with his feet when he’s flushed from the pocket. He’s nowhere near being in the same class as RG3 or Russell Wilson, but he compares favorably to Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck in his running ability. Needs to translate that athleticism to movement in the pocket, however. When he’s in the pocket, he’s a statue. He needs to learn the footwork necessary to move within the pocket, rather than allowing himself to be flushed out at the first sign of pressure.

Arm strength/Accuracy: Slightly above-average arm strength. He can make all the common throws and can also launch some deep balls down the field. Accuracy is solid up to 10 yards, but begins to get shaky beyond that. West Virginia’s offense relied heavily on short passes, including an inordinate amount of screens to the running backs and receivers. The majority of Smith’s deeper throws were on curls and comebacks, which require arm strength but only a limited skill in timing and anticipation. When Smith is asked to make more difficult timing throws (posts, corners routes, etc) he struggles. Smith has difficulty anticipating when a receiver is about to break free; he appears to only see what is in front of him. As a result, he often throws to an open receiver, but the window closes by the time the ball is arriving. West Virginia’s offense compensated for Smith’s weaknesses by featuring a significant percentage of shorter routes. Of the 141 attempts I charted, 70 percent of Smith’s attempts were within 10  yards of the line of scrimmage. While Smith does struggle with most deep routes, he has shown the ability to throw the deep go route with relative consistency.

Footwork/Release: There are no issues with Smith’s mechanics. Even when he’s on the run, he displays relatively consistent mechanics and footwork. He could, however, improve his footwork within the pocket. He doesn’t operate well within the tight space of a closing pocket, and prefers to roll out, which usually leads to him tucking the ball and running. He needs to develop the footwork to make the minor movements in the pocket to create just enough space for him to complete the throw.

Decision making: As previously mentioned, Smith struggles to see the play develop. He needs to learn how to see where his receiver and the defender will be in two steps, rather than simply analyzing where they are right now. The majority of his interceptions and deflected passes came when he threw to an open receiver who was no longer open by the time the ball arrived. Smith also needs to develop the ability to see the entire field. When Smith drops back to look either left or right and rarely turns to see the other side of the field. Smith usually has a primary target down the field, and a check-down option. He throws to one of these two receivers before ever looking across the field on the overwhelming majority of his throws.

Intangibles: Smith is well liked by teammates and coaches. He appears to remain poised throughout the game and doesn’t show a lot of emotion on the field.

Durability: No significant issues of note. Did not miss any action in two years as the starter.

Comments: Smith clearly has the raw skills needed to play at the next level, but his football intelligence is lacking at this stage of  his career. He has the arm strength and his accuracy is acceptable, but his decision making is worrisome. However, it’s difficult to know how much of this is because he simply struggles with that aspect of the game or because West Virginia’s coaching staff did not give him the opportunities he needed to develop those skills. Of the games I charted for Smith, 26 percent of his attempts were at or behind the line of scrimmage – that’s a quarter of his throws that tell us absolutely nothing about his ability. The lack of awareness on the field is enough for me to definitely say Smith is not worthy of a first-round pick, however, I do think he has what it takes to potentially develop into an above average starter. Teams will need to grill him during the interview process in order to determine just how likely it is that he will be able to develop the mental part of his game fast enough to contribute in the NFL.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2013 Leave a comment

Updated mock draft

1. Kansas City Chiefs – Geno Smith – QB – West Virginia – Scouting Report
I feel bad for Chiefs fans, because this is a recipe for disaster. Geno Smith definitely has potential, but he won’t be surrounded by the type of supporting cast he needs to develop. I don’t subscribe to the theory that when you need a quarterback you simply settle for the best one available. But under the new CBA, that seems to be the mindset of many GMs these days.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Bjoern Werner – DE – Florida State – Scouting Report
Blaine Gabbert has yet to impress and the new regime has no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. But he’s still young and has yet to be surrounded by the support a young, developing quarterback deserves. Given the Jaguars glaring hole at defensive end, Werner, Moore or Jordan would be a safe alternative to reaching for a quarterback.  

3. Oakland Raiders – Star Lotulelei – DT – Utah – Scouting Report
With Richard Seymour set to become a free agent and unlikely to return to Oakland, the Raiders most glaring need is the defensive line. In addition to Seymour, Matt Shaughnessy, Andre Carter and Desmond Bryant are also set to hit the open market. Lotulelei is the best available player in this scenario and would fit well into Seymoyr’s spot on the line.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – Luke Joeckel – OT – Texas A&M – Scouting Report
Unless the Eagles want to reach for a quarterback (unlikely considering Chip Kelly’s offense and the talent on the board) they’re hoping someone else does to allow Luke Joeckel to fall to them. Dee Milliner is also an attractive option since Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is not expected to be re-signed. After a dominant Senior Bowl performance Eric Fisher is also in the mix.  

5. Detroit Lions – Dion Jordan – DE – Oregon – Scouting Report
Damontre Moore is the consensus best available player on the board in this scenario, but I have hunch Jordan will be high on the Lions board. They are likely losing Cliff Avril to free agency and need an immediate impact pass-rusher. Moore is definitely more well rounded, but Jordan could be an terror as a pass-rush specialist early in his career.  

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Senior Bowl notes

  • Kyle Long missed some opportinuties due to the flu, but he played on Monday and showed off his athleticism. However, he clearly lacks the fundamentals to start immediately at either tackle position. If a team wants to play him immediately it needs to be at left guard, where he primarily played at Oregon. But in a year or two he could develop into a left tackle once he refines his technique.
  • John Simon has been playing linebacker after spending his career at Ohio State primarily playing with his hand on the ground. He has experience at end and tackle, and for good reason. Simon simply lacks the athleticism to play linebacker and he has been exposed in coverage drills.
  • Robbie Rouse will make his living at the next level as third-down back, which requires strong blocking skills. It’s a tough skill to learn for undersized backs like Rouse, and he’s shown that he still has a ways to go. There’s a lot to like about his playmaking ability but he isn’t ready for that role just yet.
  • Jordan Poyer has helped himself as much as anyone this week. The Oregon State cornerback lacks elite athleticism but never backs down from a matchup and knows how to use his physical tools to his advantage. In one particular matchup against speedster Marquise Goodwin, Poyer jammed him and clearly won the battle by knocking him off the route early.
  • Speaking of Goodwin, he has impressed with his speed but lacks the overall tools to be anything more than a deep threat and return specialist at this stage of his career.
  • Aaron Dobson is another who has the speed to stretch the field but has done little else. He isn’t particularly physical hasn’t been able to create separation on shorter routes.
  • Chris Harper has been impressive so far. The former quarterback lacks the athleticism to be a deep threat, but he is a surprisingly polished route runner and looks like a prototypical possession receiver.
  • Eric Fisher has arguably been the most impressive prospect in Mobile. He was a likely top-10 pick before the week began, but there were still some concerns about making the jump from the MAC to the NFL. After three days of practice, there are no more questions lingering. Fisher is an elite prospect and could come off the board in the top five.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, the bigger winner this week has been Datone Jones. He has played end and tackle at UCLA and entered the week as a ‘tweener but he answered any questions out there about his athleticism. Jones clearly has the ability to contribute as a pass rusher on the edge and should now be considered a first-round lock.
  • Terrence Williams is one of my favorite prospects but I’ve been somewhat disappointing from what I’ve seen this week. He struggles to separate on the deep routes, making him more of a one-dimensional receiver than I initially thought. I had previously compared him to a young Andre Johnson, but without the ability to separate deep he may be more of an Anquan Boldin type. Either way, I still like him as a first-round prospect.
  • Ezekiel Ansah has been hyped up as an elite talent, albeit a raw one. So far I just haven’t seen it, either on tape or at the Senior Bowl. He has an NFL body but he isn’t nearly as athletic as he’s been made out to be. The Jason Pierre-Paul comparisons just don’t hold up. He reminds me more of Frostee Rucker. I still expect him to be in the first-round conversation, but I definitely will not giving him a first-round grade. There are just too many questions and not nearly enough potential to make up for it.
  • Oday Aboushi has been among the most disappointing prospects. I had only seen a limited amount of him during the season and was hopeful that he would show the athleticism to play left tackle. But his performance in Mobile has shown just the opposite. He may not even have the athleticism to play on the right side. On top of the limited quickness, he’s also looked soft. I wouldn’t touch him until the third round.
  • One of the biggest surprises has been Georgia’s Cornelius Washington. He played both end and linebacker in Georgia’s 3-4 but has been playing end at the Senior Bowl. He’s more athletic than I expected and has blown past a few linemen off the snap. He entered the week as a fringe prospect but may be solidifying his spot in the middle rounds of the draft.
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D.J. Fluker impresses at weigh-in

Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman D.J. Fluker may have answered the question about his ability to remain at tackle at the next level during Monday’s weigh-in at the Senior Bowl.

Fluker was measured at 6’5″, 355 pounds and reportedly carried the weight well. But the key number for Fluker was his arm length (36 3/8 inches) which gave him the longest wingspan at the Senior Bowl.

Due to his size and limited mobility there are questions concerning Fluker’s ability to play tackle in the pros. But his long arms may give him the edge he needs in pass protection to make up for his lack of quickness. And if nothing else, it will ease the concerns of some scouts who may have been on the fence about his future position.

Fluker reminds me of Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt who entered the 2009 draft with similar concerns but has developed into a solid starting lineman in the league.

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Updated mock draft

updated 1-17-2012

1. Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel – OT – Texas A&M – Scouting Report
The Chiefs picked the wrong year to implode. They desperately need a franchise quarterback, especially with a new coach and GM on board, but no one is worthy of the first-overall pick. In fact, there may not even be a quarterback worthy of the first round. While it won’t fix anything for the short term, the best move is to settle for either Joeckel or Werner and hope to answer the quarterback question next year.  

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Bjoern Werner – DE – Florida State – Scouting Report
The Jaguars are in nearly the same position as the Chiefs. Blaine Gabbert has yet to impress and the new regime has no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. But he’s still young and has yet to be surrounded by the support a young, developing quarterback deserves. Given the Jaguars glaring hole at defensive end, Werner or Moore would be a safe alternative to reaching for a quarterback.  

3. Oakland Raiders – Damontre Moore – DE – Texas A&M – Scouting Report
With Richard Seymour set to become a free agent and unlikely to return to Oakland, the Raiders most glaring need is the defensive line. In addition to Seymour, Matt Shaughnessy, Andre Carter and Desmond Bryant are also set to hit the open market. Moore is a physical pass rusher who would immediate upgrade the Raiders relatively weak pass rush.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – Dee Milliner – CB – Alabama – Scouting Report
Unless the Eagles want to be the first time to grab a quarterback (unlikely considering Chip Kelly’s offense and the talent on the board) they’re hoping someone else does to allow Luke Joeckel to fall to them. But if Joeckel is off the board, Milliner makes the most sense. This pick becomes even more likely if the Eagles cut ties with one of their expensive and underachieving cornerbacks.  

5. Detroit Lions – Dion Jordan – DE – Oregon – Scouting Report
The Lions may be a candidate to trade up if they’re interested in landing Werner or Moore, both of whom would be excellent fits to replace Kyle Vanden Bosch, who seems to have reached the end of the road, and/or Cliff Avril who is a free agent. If they can’t land one of the top two ends Jordan and Mingo become options. Both have elite potential as pass rushers but Jordan has more experience under his belt and is a safer bet to contribute immediately.  

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Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Mock Draft 2 Comments