Very few players in this year's NFL draft have been picked apart like West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. That's what happens when there's a wide range of opinions on a player, and the range on Smith is fairly startling.
Doug Farrar and Greg Cosell are Shutdown Corner's draft experts and they put as much time into prospect evaluation as anyone. Farrar had Smith going seventh overall. Cosell didn't even have him in the first round. Neither one is "right" or "wrong," because nobody knows what to make of Smith with the draft just hours away.
And Smith has apparently been paying attention to the criticism of his game as people debate if he's a top 10 pick or a second-day selection. The criticism has been pretty intense at times, and he responded this week on Twitter with the draft approaching.
Just want to thank all those so called "experts" who say I can't be an NFL QB. Thursday will be a special day but the work has only begun
— Eugene Geno Smith (@GenoSmith_12) April 23, 2013
That was Smith's first tweet since April 4.
And really, this is likely a shot at one prominent critic. Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki took personal shots at Smith aimed primarily at his work ethic, which he also did with Cam Newton in 2011, and his hatchet job of Smith was widely dismissed. Smith doesn't say much on Twitter, but many of his recent comments have had to do with answering his critics. And Nawrocki isn't the only one.
"Hate is so familiar to me I'm slowly embracing it, doesn't come natural bear with me it could take a bit". — Eugene Geno Smith (@GenoSmith_12) April 2, 2013
They hated Jesus baby we won't break — Eugene Geno Smith (@GenoSmith_12) April 2, 2013
While that last one might be a wee bit of an overly dramatic comparison, it seems like Smith has taken the slights personally. Maybe that will drive him. Randy Moss kept track of all the teams that passed on him in the draft. Michael Jordan usually saved a little something extra for his games against Portland after he slipped to third in the draft. There's many similar examples. Sometimes it pushes a player in a positive direction.
"It's not even to get back at anyone because I can't do that through Twitter,'' Smith told USA Today. "The only way I can do that is to prove them wrong on the field. Basically, what I said is, 'I'd like to thank you for continuing to motivate me and to keep me motivated.'
"I didn't read the things. People called me to say, 'Did you hear this, did you hear that.' I said, 'No. I don't care about that type of stuff.' As long as it's out there, I have to stay on my 'A' game.''
The vindication tour will begin when Smith gets drafted. When he gets picked is anyone's guess at this point.