You might remember that a a couple years ago, in advance of the 2011 NFL Draft, Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly published a scouting report of Cam Newton that went beyond being critical and into the realm of the bizarre – specifically, the accusation that he has a “fake smile,” along with a whole host of other shots at Newton’s character. While it’s true that Newton still has some growing up to do, specifically with how he responds when things go wrong on the field, this was too much – and it had plenty of people pretty sure that Newton’s race was a factor in how harsh Nawrocki was.
Well, now Nawrocki’s back with a scouting report of Geno Smith, the former West Virginia QB generally thought to be the top signal-caller available this year – a scouting report seemingly written to assure us all, “Yeah, Cam Newton’s race was a factor, if not the factor, in how harsh Nawrocki was.” Let’s see what he has to say about Smith, shall we?
Not a student of the game…Not committed or focused — marginal work ethic.
Harsh. But not necessarily written because Smith is black, right? Maybe that assessment is right on. We’d better get a second opinion. A second opinion from someone who knows Smith inside and out, like, say, his quarterbacks coach at WVU, Jake Spavital:
Spavital said the thing sets Smith apart is obsessive film study and relentless work ethic…”Geno, football is all he cared about. He’d take the O-line out to eat and then come back to the office and we’d watch stuff on the iPad. He was always trying to improve. I’ve never seen anybody study harder with the tape than he does.”
Oh. Um. Well, then. So whose word are we taking: Nawrocki’s, or the guy who’s worked up close and personal with Smith these last couple years? I know who I’m taking, but maybe you think this is just a coach pumping up one of his guys. So how about we look at another Smith draft scouting report, this one from the National Football Post (which, by the way, isn’t exactly glowing – it doesn’t give Smith a first-round grade):
Similar to Andrew Luck and RGIII, Smith is exceptionally smart with great intangibles/character and work ethic.
Based on all the great things NFL scouts told me about Geno’s character, leadership, work ethic and intangibles, I was very excited to evaluate his play.
And how about the opinion of another draft scout?
It’s one thing to not like a prospect. It’s another to make things up about their character or work ethic. Looking at you, Nolan Nawrocki.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 1, 2013
Trollin’ Nawrocki is at it again – and, judging by the amount of reaction he’s stirred up – including, of course, the post you’re reading right this second – it’s some mighty effective trolling. So from that standpoint: good job, Trollin’. Joke’s on us, we guess. From the standpoint of actually providing worthwhile insight on a prospect, though: well, let’s just say we’re starting to think Nolan Nawrocki isn’t a student of the craft of evaluating quarterbacks.