The problem is that NFL types see a guy who, right now, doesn’t understand how to get there.
“His biggest problem is that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know,” said a league executive, who spent extensive time assessing Smith before the draft. “I’m not sure he knows how to take instruction because he pretty much wouldn’t listen or talk to our coaches … he’s talented. He can sling it, he can fit it into tight spots, he can do a lot of things and I think he wants to be good. But you can’t tell him anything right now. He’s tuned out because he thinks he’s got it all down.”
Some people are concerned about Smiths leadership.
“He doesn’t have much presence, not much of a leader,” said another league executive, who spent a great deal of time studying Smith before the draft. “I don’t think he’s a bad person, but that’s not enough to be a quarterback in this league.”
Smith was also too focused on his cell phone during meetings with teams.
Two sources indicated that when Smith went on some visits to teams, rather than interact with coaches and front-office people, he would spend much of his time on his cell phone. Instead of being engaged with team officials, he would be texting friends or reading Twitter or a number of other distracting activities.
“All these other players who were in there were talking to the coaches, trying to get to know people and he was over there by himself,” one of the sources said. “That’s not what you want out of your quarterback.”
Both sources indicated that Florida State’s E.J. Manuel, who was selected ahead of Smith at No. 16 overall by Buffalo, was far more impressive in terms of his personality and maturity.
“Manuel gets it, he gets the whole big picture of what it takes to lead a team,” one of the league executives said.
When you compare Smith to guys like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, it’s pretty obvious that Smith lacks the maturity that both Luck and Griffin possess. If he doesn’t grow up right now, he’ll be the next bust in New York.