Geno Smith Combine: Poor Passing Drills Performances Raises Red Flag

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 26, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 24: Geno Smith of West Virginia throws during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 24, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Geno Smith was thought to have at least an outside chance at being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, but after a lackluster performance in the combine passing drills, that is quickly becoming unlikely at best.

We already knew the West Virginia product was a good athlete, and he proved that at the combine with elite numbers in the 40-yard dash, broad and vertical jump drills. In each, Smith's numbers were among the very best, if not the best of all the quarterbacks in this year's class.

The problem for Smith was in his passing drills.

Smith was able to perform well when throwing passes that require velocity, such as slant routes, and he even displayed some nice touch when it was necessary to do so.

But the biggest problem came on his deep throws and some of the shorter routes.

Smith left several balls up in the air on the longer routes that forced his receiver to slow down in order to make the catch. Also, accuracy was an issue for the former Mountaineer, as square-ins often resulted in his target having to adjust to complete the play.

Arm strength was supposed to be the best thing going for Smith, coming into this combine, but the fact that he wasn't able to complete some deep throws with success is a major issue and does little to promote what was thought to be the best thing going for him.

His inaccuracy with some of the shorter routes is a dangerous trait for NFL teams to take a chance on as well.

Throws over the middle of the field are particularly dangerous at the next level, and if Smith's receivers need to adjust when trying to make a play on those kinds of throws, that could result in many incompletions, or worse, interceptions.

He might have been able to get away with it at the college level, but experienced cornerbacks and linebackers will make Smith pay if his throws toward the middle of the field aren't on point.

For someone who has been billed as a pocket passer, Smith's throwing performance at the combine is a red flag. If he wasn't able to make all the throws on an empty field with no defenders breathing down his neck; just how can he be expected to do it in an NFL game?

Granted, he will still be the top signal-caller on the board when the draft comes, but Smith's combine showing makes him nowhere near a certainty in the NFL.