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|TROY SMITH-Baltimore: "Both posted impressive numbers as seniors but lack the size and bulk you look for in a quarterback and likely are better fits for a West Coast offense. Smith can dink-and-dunk a defense to death, but he's not a threat as a vertical passer. In an ideal world, he joins the minions of quarterbacks in Tampa Bay, where Jeff Garcia is the perfect tutor for any West Coast quarterback. "|
With all your on and off-the-field accomplishments, what’s been the overall highlight of your football career? All the individual stuff is neat, not only personally but for the team. Going to three bowl games in my three years as a starter provided a level of consistency. As the starter at the position most people consider the leader of the team. Tulsa has a great history as a program, but the last time they went to a bowl game three years in a row before this was in the 1940s.Absolutely, he was someone I watched growing up. Being raised in a household with Christian values, my dad taught me to emulate him, not just in football, but in life. He won the national championship and a Heisman trophy, and you can say so many great things about him as a football player and more importantly as a person. Danny Wuerffel is definitely someone I want to emulate in my life.
You’re known for accomplishing just as much off the field as you do on it. The academic accomplishments and of course your service: President of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus, numerous speaking engagements for FCA and other church-affiliated and youth events, I got involved in that in high school. In college I started playing the guitar at campus FCA, and it was a way to stay involved with my faith during the week. I can play the guitar at FCA every Tuesday night on campus. It’s tough to get to church sometimes when you’re out of town every weekend. But I stayed involved and the director named me the president.
Have you had any interactions with the legends of Tulsa football, Lovie Smith and Steve Largent?I met Steve Largent and I spoke with Lovie Smith a couple weeks before the combine; he was in town for the hall of fame dinner. I’ve spoken with him there, on the phone and at the combine. Proud to be associated with him and I hope this relationship carries on to the next level.
The scouts, what do they say about your main strengths? They’re hard to read; they don’t tell me much. They talk to my coach and they compliment me saying I find a way to win; so obviously that is what you look for in a quarterback. You gotta have someone at qb that knows how to find a way to win.
What is one thing your teammates don't know about you? Nothing.
Conversely, what are some of the things you think you need to work on the most? They gave me about as much negative feedback as they did positive. I entered my senior year at 195 pounds, and most people wanted to see me put some weight on and be more physical if I needed to be. I gained some muscle, about 15 pounds. I weighed in at the combine at 208; my goal was to be at 205 to show that I could put on weight if I needed to. So to have surpassed that goal certainly helps.
What's your proudest moment in football? Proudest moment off the field? Receiving 1st team All-MAC 2007. Being invited to talk at my high school football banquet.
: Your faith, service and accomplishments all make you a role model to many; what’s the best advice you can give to those who look up to you? Never believe the critics. They will always say you’re this or that. You’re too short, too slow, too skinny to do something. You just keep proving them wrong and keep giving God the glory.
Better Know a Draft Prospect: Tulsa Quarterback Paul Smith
It's time for another "better know a prospect", except that our next subject is actually a signed member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I know, it's a little dated, but considering that these undrafted free agents are still longer than long shots to make the team, it's prudent to move quickly and examine their value.
Our first "in-depth" look is at University of Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith. This Golden Hurricane is moving to the land of Hurricanes, which begs the first question: why in the world is their mascot the "golden hurricane"? Wikipedia lets me down on this one, so five bonus points to the reader who can explain the origins of their nickname.
Anyhow, back to the issue at hand. The Jaguars lack youth in their quarterback development. Lester Ricard was released this week, limiting our roster to David Garrard, Cleo Lemon, Todd Bouman and Paul Smith. Bouman is as good as gone if Smith can show any potential. Even with our stability at the position with David Garrard, there's something to be said about developing a solid and consistent backup quarterback, even if he's not the greatest physical specimen.
Paul Smith fits the bill for a long term project, he's an All-Conference USA first-team choice that shattered all of his schools records. 5,065 yards passing, 47 passing touchdowns, a cool 13 rushing touchdowns, and 10,000 passing yards in his career. He's never had any significant injury and even served as the President of Tulsa's chapter of FCA. You don't get a bigger character guy than Smith, I'll tell you that much.
Video Killed the Scouting Report:
Paul Smith: By the Numbers
One of seven players in NCAA history to pass for more than 5,000 yards, he can run the ball, and he's even a pooch punter in a pinch. (Remember my love for multi-functional players). Paul completed 583 of 1,009 career attempts, with 83 touchdowns through the air, 23 on the ground. Smith was 4th in the nation last year in pass efficiency rating, with 159.85.
I found a nice interview with Paul Smith that I placed in this far too lengthy sidebar. You can tell that he's got his head in the right place, which I appreciate.
Scott Wright's NFL Draft Countdown : Very competitive...A decent athlete...Adequate bulk...Good accuracy...Terrific touch and timing...Pretty mobile...Can throw on the run...Moves well in the pocket...Real smart...Hard worker...Team leader...Has a lot of experience...Was very productive.
NFL Draft Scout : Lacks the physique of a pocket passer, but has loose hips, very good mobility, adequate upper-body definition in his chest, shoulders and arms, tight midsection and large hands to field the shotgun or long snap cleanly...Durable athlete who has never missed a game due to an injury...Classic improviser who is dangerous when scrambling in the backfield, as he can make plays with his feet enough to constantly keep his team in games (28 touchdowns rushing)...Lacks flash, but is productive at avoiding the rush and creating second-chance opportunities as a passer...Shows good arm strength on short-to-medium routes, but loses power and accuracy on some deep balls...Throws with good velocity and has good playing strength, has ability to redirect and agility in small spaces...Will easily learn and retain information...Does well in the classroom and shows good instincts to improvise...Shows adequate-to-good vision reading the field when the pocket is calm...Competes hard, keeping his team in the game despite not having much help around him...Does whatever is necessary to win and plays with a competitive drive...The son of a coach, he has good work ethic and is a tough leader-by-example type who can be vocal, if necessary...Has the stride length in his pass drops to get good depth driving back from center (more comfortable setting up with a five-step setup)...Keeps the ball high in his drops and displays good quickness in his release, with limited extra motion...Throws the ball with good velocity on short-to-medium routes, keeping his elbow up to generate a smooth release...Looks better and more comfortable when things break down around him, showing the quick decisions to whether throw or take off and run...Has good eyes to find open targets and puts the ball on the line throwing underneath ...Stays even keel as a leader, refraining from getting too high or too low emotionally...Shows the ability to bounce back when faced with adversity and teammates respond to his leadership...Shows good accuracy and touch in the short passing game, as he does a good job of putting zip on his throws to get them into tight places...Displays good accuracy both when he's set or when he's on the move, as he has outstanding awareness and feel in the pocket, showing good feet to slide and avoid rushers...Consistently shows the ability to improvise and make plays downfield, as he leads receivers nicely on passes over the middle...Although he is usually scrambling or improvising, he has adequate ability to anticipate the throw and shows the ability to set his feet and get the ball out across the middle...Displays good eyes to locate second and third options when he's scrambling, possessing better accuracy on the move than when stationary...Shows good ability to avoid pressure in the pocket and is very creative, using his feet to gain extra room when trying to locate his secondary targets...Has arm strength, accuracy and vision to locate receivers on the run.
Scott Wright's NFL Draft Countdown : Lacks the ideal height that you look for...Does not have a great arm....Has trouble throwing the deep ball...Struggles under pressure...Worked mostly out of the gun in college...Will force things at times....Stats were inflated by a wide open offense.
NFL Draft Scout : Shows only adequate foot quickness in his five-step drops...Scrambles when he doesn't need to, at times...Possesses only adequate arm strength and accuracy on deep balls...Production declines when he throws the ball vertically and is best on short and intermediate quick reads...Better fit for a West Coast offense...Lacks the ideal height you want from a quarterback and might have problems scanning the field vs. bigger defenders at the pro level...Needs to add more bulk and strength to absorb punishment...Good improviser, but needs to know when to throw the ball away rather than trying to create when nothing is there...Needs to refine his footwork, as he will fire off his back foot, causing deep throws to lose air and trajectory...More of a shot-putter with an elongated wind-up when attempting to throw the deep ball...Has good scrambling ability but doesn't always escape at the first sign of pressure...Must reduce his steps driving back from center (better throwing with a three-step approach) and will need time to learn how to do this, as he operated mostly out of the shotgun in college.
Why IS he on the Jacksonville Jaguars:
Because he's the type of player who has the potential to be a Jeff Garcia, a guy who can hold his own and move the ball down field. He's not going to be flashy, he won't go deep, but if you combine him with our running game, it'd be nice to see Paul develop into our true backup quarterback. No offense to Cleo, I'd just like to see some youth at the position, and see where it develops.
Paul is also known for his football smarts and hard work, two traits that should take him far with Jack Del Rio. If you can be beaten physically, you have to be unstoppable mentally. Smith is a player to keep an eye on, for sure.