NFL Prospect Focus: Brett Smith

Wyoming hasn’t exactly been a top football power, and their good players get little publicity east of the Rocky Mountains. The last three years, they have had a QB who has played very well on an average team.
Brett Smith is a true third-year junior who, from what my sources tell me, will enter next spring’s NFL Draft.

Smith has adequate size at about 6’ 21/2" – 215. He is a good athlete with better than adequate speed for a quarterback. I would estimate his play speed at 4.7. He plays in a spread formation offense and never plays from under center. He is a poised, patient player and does a good job reading coverages and finding an open receiver. With his athleticism, he can keep plays alive with his feet and has good run skills. They run a lot of read-option type plays, and while Smith isn’t Johnny Manziel with the ball in his hands, he is an effective runner.

Smith has put up good numbers while at Wyoming. This year, he completed 63% of his passes for 3375 yards, 29 TDs and 11 interceptions. For his career, he has completed 751 of 1212 passes for 8843 yards and a 62% completion percentage. He has also thrown for 76 TDs and only 28 interceptions. Smith does not have the supporting cast that many top quarterbacks have, so those numbers are impressive.

I like that he is an accurate passer with good ball placement. He can throw the ball with velocity while on the run to either direction. He has the patience and poise to go through a progression and find an open receiver. He seldom forces throws. He doesn’t have a cannon, but his arm is good enough. His mechanics are good and he has a quick release. I did notice that his release is not the same with every throw. Also, he will not consistently set his feet before he throws. When he shows proper footwork, the ball comes out nicely.

I have seen Smith make all the throws that an NFL QB has to make. He can throw a deep out, slants, posts, and fades. He can fire the ball if necessary and can also throw with touch. Because he doesn’t have a bunch of 4.5 receivers catching his passes he can put a bit too much air under his deep balls. He can get away with that in college but not in the NFL.

Overall, Smith has the talent to be an eventual starter in the NFL. Playing in the pass-happy, no defense Mountain West, he doesn’t have to place the ball in many tight places like he will in the NFL. He will need some time to develop and perfect his throwing mechanics and footwork, but he has a lot of upside. I can see him being a starter by the middle of his second year or the start of his third year at the latest. Unless he really “wows’ coaches and scouts at the combine and his pro day, I don’t see him being a premium pick (first or second round), but he could easily be drafted anywhere form the middle of the third round on. I would say that Smith will be having a lot of private workouts for coaches come March and April, and don’t be shocked if you hear his name as a chart climber.

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