A scouting report by Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki surprisingly ripped West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith for a questionable football IQ, a marginal work ethic and an inability to inspire teammates -- among other negatives.
Smith heard about the scurrilous report from former West Virginia quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital.
"I was laughing with Geno about it Monday night and I said, 'Welcome to the business,'" Spavital told USA Today.
Spavital insists Smith is one of the hardest-working quarterbacks he's ever seen, calling him a coach's "dream come true." It's high praise coming from a coach who tutored Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden at Oklahoma State.
According to Spavital, Smith compares favorably to Weeden in work ethic and skill set. "Geno can step in and start in the NFL from day one," Spavital said. "And I didn't think that about Brandon Weeden."
Spavital further describes Smith as "competitive and passionate" with an "awesome" personality.
Spavital's assessment gibes with the findings of NFL.com's Albert Breer after asking around about Smith's work ethic. "What I heard is he's not the biggest weight room guy," Breer said, "but is a grinder on-field and in (the) classroom."
If Smith can't inspire or lead teammates, it's news to West Virginia wide receiver prospect Steadman Bailey. Although Bailey isn't expected to go off the board in the first round, he's accompanying Smith to the 2013 NFL Draft in New York City to lend his support.
"I know firsthand that Geno is one of the hardest working guys having watched how far he's come over our years together," Bailey told USA Today. "He's a leader, a hard-working guy, a film junkie. He has all the qualities you'd want in a franchise quarterback. Anyone looking for that, Geno is your man."
The accounts of Smith's backers and primary detractor couldn't be any more disparate. We won't have a good read on their accuracy until he steps into the huddle against NFL defenses.
It certainly doesn't speak well of his potential that three of the NFL teams most in need of a starting quarterback have acquired a new veteran starter in the past week.