First-Day Target Wouldn't Make Switch

The Vikings had an interest in selecting another quarterback on the first day of the draft if he would have been willing to make a position switch, according to a league source.

According to a league source, the Vikings were prepared to use a first-day draft pick on University of Missouri quarterback Brad Smith if he was willing to make the switch to running back and return specialist.

Smith is still holding out hope of playing quarterback in the NFL, according to the source, and therefore the Vikings decided to go in a different direction during the 2006 NFL Draft, which was completed this weekend.

Smith completed 59 percent of his passes as a senior, but most NFL teams were more intrigued with his potential as a running back, wide receiver or return specialist. He led the Tigers in rushing last season, going for 1,301 yards and 16 touchdowns, three more TDs than he had throwing the ball.

The Jets ended up selecting the 6-foot-2, 212-pound Smith with the sixth pick in the fourth round, the opening round of the second day of the draft, and he may have an opportunity to compete for the third quarterback spot in New York.

Smith finished with 56 touchdowns passing and 45 rushing at Missouri. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 and 4.54 at the NFL Combine in February.

The Vikings did not end up drafting a running back, but they signed highly touted Taurean Henderson as a rookie free agent Sunday night. They ended up trading away two third-round picks to select Alabama State quarterback Tarvaris Jackson with the final pick in the second round.

TFY DRAFT PREVIEW ANALYSIS

Full Name: Brad Smith School: Missouri Pos: QB

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 212 40: 4.54 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Four-year starter awarded varying degrees of All-Conference honors since his freshman campaign. Senior passing totals included 59.4%/2,304/13/9. Also led the team in rushing last season with 229/1,301/16. Posted career-best passing totals of 2,333 yards and 15 touchdowns as a freshman.

Pos: Outstanding athlete best running the football. Strong-armed, threads needles or drives passes downfield. Patient and buys as much time as possible for receivers. Displays vision running the ball, waits for blocks to develop, then explodes through the hole.

Neg: Indecisive passer who consistently has receivers waiting on throws. Puts the ball up for grabs. Stares down targets from the get-go.

Analysis: Possessing top size/speed numbers as well as ball-carrying instincts, Smith is a developmental prospect at running back and possibly a return specialist.


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