QB Finds Friend, Interest with Vikings

If the Vikings don't make a move for a veteran quarterback, they could find a developmental prospect in the late rounds of the draft. One of those extremely productive prospects remembers talking with the Vikings at a college all-star game and has a friend already on the team.

Expect to hear that Tulsa's Paul Smith has made strides with NFL clubs by the time the NFL Scouting Combine winds down next week. Smith's knowledge of the game, poise and maturity is impressive and will resonate well when he sits down face-to-face with NFL coaches and general managers. 

The son of a football coach, Smith put up staggering numbers at Tulsa in their spread offense, throwing for 10,924 yards and 83 touchdowns while rushing for 1,155 yards and 28 touchdowns during his career. While some want to question his ability to throw the long ball, Smith's precise workmanship in the short and middle areas of the field, along with his field intelligence and leadership, are going to give teams a lot of confidence in his abilities.  

"I love those critics, because they're the ones who keep me going," he told Scout.com. "They're not the general managers who will be making the decisions. 

"I know some of my weaknesses, and a lot of it might be the mirror test of not being 6-foot-5, 235 pounds. But I enjoy lining up next to the best quarterbacks in the nation, I'm excited about that opportunity." 

The 6-foot-1, 198-pound quarterback said that although the attention he received from teams at both the Hula Bowl and the East-West Shrine game was extensive, there were a few clubs that stuck out in his mind a bit as he reflected on those encounters.

"I remember talking to the Vikings, mainly because my best friend — Garrett Mills — who played at Tulsa two years ago, plays tight end for them. I talked to them about how Garrett and I have a pretty good feel for one another," he said with a laugh. "I certainly wouldn't mind throwing to him again, because he tends to make a quarterback look good — I know that from experience.

"That was kind of neat to have a friend in the NFL, and I guess at the bigger schools you find that quite commonly, but for guys like me, it was neat talking to them about a possible future with the Vikings."

Smith also said that the Chicago Bears have shown a good level of interest so far. But that shouldn't be a huge surprise since the Bears are definitely in need of some quarterback help, and their head coach, Lovie Smith, graduated from Tulsa. 

"I did talk one of their scouts for quite a while," Smith said. "And then I talked to a different one at the East-West game."

The Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons have also shown some strong interest in Smith to date. But expect that list to grow exponentially after his appearance in Indianapolis next week.

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