Earlier this week in his article titled Colts Quarterbacks: 2006 Prospectus, ColtPower Sportswriter Jerry Langton mentioned that he's been told the Colts like Central Michigan quarterback Kent Smith. Jerry said that the "lanky left hander" is "not all that speedy, but is a smart runner."
Smith is indeed a dual threat, but as our Scout.com NFL Experts observed following his junior year, his senior year was going to be pivotal in determining if he had a future in the NFL. Here's what TFY Draft Preview had to say about him following the 2004 season:
"Quarterback Kent Smith is a solid athlete who beats opponents throwing the ball or carrying it. Displaying a willingness to sit in the pocket and wait for receivers to come free, Smith zips the short throws or makes a lot of questionable decisions. His innate physical skills will get him consideration, yet he must consistently produce as a senior."
The 6'5, 215-lb quarterback did exactly that over the past few months, wrapping up a successful season that got him more looks from pro scouts. He now holds or shares eight school records for passing and total offense. He completed a school record 255 passes for 2,762 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing for 433 yards and seven more scores during his senior year. And he only tossed 6 interceptions that season. Smith also became just the third CMU quarterback to throw for at least 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons. His performance was so notable that he received an invitation to be one of the roughly 20 quarterbacks who will work out later this month for NFL team personnel at the Combine in Indianapolis.
Smith brings an element to the quarterback position that Peyton Manning, Jim Sorgi, and Travis Brown lack – the ability to make defenses respect his running ability. Over the past two seasons, he rushed for 17 touchdowns. He rushed for 433 yards in 2005 alone.
Nicknamed "Big Smooth", the 22-year old helped raise his stock early in the 2005 season with a CMU record 478 yards of total offense in a single game against Miami (OH). He passed for 356 yards and rushed for 122 more and scored four times in a 38-37 thriller.
Smith is a bit raw though, and didn't fare as well when faced with top competition, such as his team's 40-3 loss at Penn State in 2005. He completed a respectable 23 of 36 pass attempts for 143 yards despite being bull-rushed throughout the contest as the Nittany Lions racked up eight sacks and stalled CMU's running game, holding them to just 19 yards for the day. In 2004, he went up against Michigan State and didn't fare as well personally, completing 10-of-30 for 93 yards and rushing for 52 yards on nine carries in a 24-7 loss.
It can't be disputed that Smith has shown flashes of brilliance that could eventually lead to a solid pro career. His showing at the Combine later this month will have a big impact on whether he'll be a draft pick or an undrafted free agent.
If signed by Indianapolis, Smith would a candidate for the third quarterback position at best -- which appears to be a spot the Colts will attempt to keep on the practice squad rather than the 53-man roster. But that should work fine for a player like Smith, who could use the seasoning of a year at that level since he's only been a two-year starter at the collegiate level.
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