Smith was blasted in Nolan Nawrocki‘s scouting report for Pro Football Weekly. Nawrocki wrote that Smith is “not a student of the game,” has “nonchalant field presence,” “does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire,” has a “mild practice demeanor — no urgency,” is “not committed or focused — marginal worth ethic,” “interviewed poorly at the combine and did not show an understanding of concepts on the white board,” “approached offseason training as if he has arrived and it shows in his body with minimal muscle definition and strength,” “needed to be coddled in college — cannot handle hard coaching,” is “a cross between Akili Smith and Aaron Brooks” and is a “gimmick, overhyped product of the system lacking the football savvy, work habits and focus to cement a starting job and could drain the energy from a QB room.”
That’s some harsh criticism of a prospect that has received absolutely no negative feedback regarding his character or worth ethic previously. Nawrocki listed both positives and negatives regarding his physical makeup and skill set, but only praised his willingness to play through pain for intangibles.
Nawrocki has a history of blasting quarterbacks’ character. He said in 2011 that Cam Newton “has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup.” Nawrocki had never met Newton.
Smith is widely expected to be the first quarterback taken in April. Pro Football Weekly has him listed as a top-50 pick despite the concerns about his character.