by Drew Boylhart
SR Staff Writer
December 2004
Alex Smith   QB   Utah
Strengths
Alex has a good, strong arm as well as good size and athleticism for his position. He is smart and does a good job running the team in the context of the game plan. He is a smart kid and is a tough competitor. Alex shows good accuracy and makes good decisions.
 
Needs to Improve

Alex is always in the shotgun, so I canít tell how well he will do standing in a pocket, taking a hit and how he will respond. I canít tell how good Alex will be in a five-step, three-step or seven-step drop. I canít tell if Alex can handle any play action passes and turn his back to the line of scrimmage then come up throwing with accuracy. What Iím saying is that Alex is in a system that does not translate very well to the NFL.

 
Talent Board Round  1

Alex reminds me of David Klingler and Akili Smith when they came out in the draft. They both had the same talent as Alex and worked in similar types of offensive systems. I tell you all the time that arm strength and mental toughness are the most important talents that I look for in a franchise QB. I cannot measure Alex for mental toughness because when his hot receiver is not open, he just takes off and runs. This will not work in the NFL. It is impressive in college ball, but not in the NFL. Pocket passes and movement in the pocket is what you need to be a good QB -- not running out of the pocket. Most, if not all, of the QBís that come into the NFL as running QBís learn the hard way to stay in the pocket and use their athletic talents to move around and give themselves extra time in the passing game. If they run too often, they get hurt and then they are not on the field. As soon as they learn this, they become the QB that everybody thought they would be. Some running QBís never learn to handle the pressure of staying in the pocket. They panic and throw a lot of interceptions or they are hurt all the time. My concern is that Alex will never handle the pressure of being a pocket passer in the NFL.