Fourth QB Possibilities: Brett Smith

Photos by Brian Losness - USA Today Sports

There might not be a more athletic quarterback in the draft than Wyoming's record-setting Brett Smith. Get to know Smith and his game in the latest in our series of quarterback profiles.

In just three seasons, Brett Smith had one of the most productive careers in Wyoming and Mountain West Conference history.

Smith finished with 8,834 passing yards, 1,531 rushing yards and 96 total touchdowns. He accounted for at least one touchdown in all 35 career games, threw at least 20 touchdown passes in all three seasons and never completed less than 61 percent of his passes.

Even with that production, Smith (6-2, 208) surprisingly was not invited to the Scouting Combine in February. That put the pressure on for a strong pro day. Smith, who has drawn comparisons to Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel because of his athleticism and ability to throw the ball down the field, responded with an excellent workout. His 4.51 clocking in the 40-yard dash would have led the quarterbacks at the Combine, and he displayed a strong arm and improved mechanics.

The best game of Smith's career came late in his junior year against the University of Hawaii. He threw for seven touchdowns, ran for an eighth and set the Mountain West record with 640 yards of total offense as Wyoming won a shootout in overtime. In a season-opening loss at Nebraska, he threw for 383 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 92 yards.

Smith does not have the pedigree of someone such as Aaron Murray out of Georgia, since he played in a small conference. However, Smith has impressed people throughout his college career.

"I want to brag on their quarterback," Texas coach Mack Brown said after Smith threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns in the Longhorns' victory to start the 2012 season. "I thought he was good. Watching the video, he made more plays against us tonight than I thought he would. He hung in there. We hit him. We blitzed him. He avoided people. I really have to credit him for a really great job. I thought he was great for us. He played like a Big 12 quarterback. ... I thought it was a positive point for him that he hung in there. He kept playing and kept playing and kept playing, and didn't give up." Smith's athleticism gives him an advantage with his ability to elude defenders and move within the pocket. He has an above-average arm but combines that with the mentality of a quarterback with an elite arm. He is an accurate passer but does tend to struggle when throwing on the run, which would give him trouble on bootleg-type plays in the Packers' system.

That athleticism is evident in his statistics. He is not necessarily a dual-threat quarterback, like Robert Griffin III is for the Washington Redskins, but he did top 130 rushing yards three times during his final season at Wyoming. He would give the Packers an element they have not had on the regular-season roster under coach Mike McCarthy.

That athleticism, however, has gotten him in trouble with his footwork. While that is something that is correctable, and certainly McCarthy and quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt are capable of correcting it, it is an early concern.

"Towards the end of the year, we were doing a lot of east/west concepts where I'd throw bubbles or really short 2-yard passes, so I was just getting it out and throwing it as fast as I can," Smith told the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune. "I wasn't worrying about my feet, so my footwork got really, really bad. I was just catching and throwing, because that's what the coaches were telling me to do." Smith sometimes forces passes into coverage but interceptions generally have not been an issue. As a sophomore, he threw only six and fell just short of the conference record with 174 consecutive passes without an interception. He tossed 11 interceptions as a junior and never went consecutive games without throwing at least one.

McCarthy has said he'd like to add a fourth quarterback to compete with Scott Tolzien and, presumably, Matt Flynn to be the backup or backups behind Aaron Rodgers. Smith projects as a fifth- or sixth-round pick. Green Bay owns the 161st and 176th selections of the fifth round and the 197th of the sixth round.

Whether or not Smith is a guy the Packers want remains to be seen, but he would add a different element to the quarterback room if he were selected.


Jacob Westendorf is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and an intern for Packer Report. E-mail him at westjd03@uwgb.edu. Find Jacob on Twitter at twitter.com/JacobWestendorf.

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