2014 Sleeper QB: Brett Smith
By Ken Scudero
The 2014 NFL Draft will be one of the most confusing yet exciting when it comes to quarterbacks. You have Johnny Manziel, who is as entertaining as they come, but how his game will translate in the NFL is concerning. Blake Bortles looks to be a solid quarterback of the future but it's unclear if he is ready to take over an offense this season. Teddy Bridgewater looked like the best gunslinger in this draft but his poor Pro Day really made us wonder how good he truly is. There are a handful of other quarterbacks who have the potential to be good starters in the NFL, but it doesn't look like any are ready to take snaps during the first week of the 2014 NFL season.
The Mountain West Conference isn't one to produce NFL quarterbacks.Colin Kaepernick is probably the most recent example of a Mountain West quarterback excelling in the NFL. I think the Mountain will produce another successful NFL quarterback, and that's Brett Smith of Wyoming.
Smith is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior dual-threat quarterback who impressed at his Pro Day recently. Smith ran a 4.51 official 40-yard dash while jumping 10-foot-8 in the broad jump. Smith is just about athletic as they come for a signal-caller and he proved it through 35 career starts. This past season, Brett Smith completed 62.6 percent of his passes for 3,375 yards. He threw 29 TDs and and 11 interceptions. In three seasons, Smith threw 76 TDs and only 28 picks. He's accurate, consistent and, most importantly, durable.
His three-quarter delivery when passing between the long arms of tall defenders will benefit him in the NFL as he isn't as tall as most NFL quarterbacks. Smith will have to use his peculiar arm angle to prevent his throws from being batted at the line of scrimmage. He also has a very quick release. When under pressure, Smith is able to get rid of the ball in plenty of time.
Smith has a pretty good arm. It's slightly above average for an NFL quarterback and more than capable of connecting on any pass. He can be more accurate but he knows where to put a throw; he knows how to lead a receiver. Smith throws a great deep ball and rarely underthrows. He didn't have any All-American running backs or receivers but just as fairly, Smith didn't face the best college competition every Saturday. But I'm never one to take away from a prospect who played Division-I ball, no matter what conference it was in.
Smith's game is very similar to Aaron Rodgers' game and don't laugh just yet. Smith is very athletic and escapes sacks just as well as Rodgers does, if not better. Smith is extremely athletic and can take off and sprint for a first down on any play. Smith is so intriguing and potentially valuable to an NFL team because he can play the traditional quarterback position but he can also play as a dual-threat QB.
Smith had a great career at Wyoming and he can create some great excitement for an NFL team. His running ability gives him an edge right away. He throws the ball well between the tackles and he is accurate when throwing all over the field. Smith was great in reading defenses at Wyoming without any star players at wide receiver. He has great football IQ and has the chance to be a successful starter down the road with the right team.