Are Nawrocki and Gruden talking about the same player? Dan Leberfeld
You would think Nolan Nawrocki and Jon Gruden were talking about different players.
Pro Football Weekly’s Nawrocki wrote about West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, “Smith is a gimmick, over-hyped product of the system; operated an offense where he received adjustments from the sideline and was often out of sync with his receivers; average field vision and coverage recognition – forces throws and does not work through progressions. Interviewed poorly at the combine and did not show an understanding of concepts on the white board.”
ESPN’s Gruden said, “Maybe the system is great, but I don’t know of a quarterback who has had as many decision-making opportunities as Smith had. And you know what? He made the right decisions.
“That offense would drive a lot of quarterbacks crazy. It’s hard. It isn’t just ‘easy production’ — it can simply look easy if you have a great decision-maker.
“I don’t like to simply say because of a track record with a system, ‘He’s got inflated production.’ I hate when people say that. It’s bull. The same systems can produce entirely different prospects. Smith’s given himself a chance to be the No. 1 pick in the draft because he can make decisions.”
Wow. How could they be talking about the same player; is he a good decision-maker or not?
Keep one thing in mind – Gruden rarely has anything negative to say about players – college or NFL – on ESPN. He tends to travel on the high road in his commentary.
Nawrocki is going to tell you exactly how he feels, and what he is hearing from his myriad personnel sources on the college and NFL level.
But this Grand Canyon opinion gap between Nawrocki and Gruden on Smith is bizarre.