Today marks the start of the highly-anticipated 2013 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. With two months until the 2013 NFL Draft, collegiate athletes will put their talents on display this weekend for NFL scouts.
Following the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, big name quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck were on everyone’s minds as potential top draft picks. Both young players were seen as franchise quarterbacks.
Luck was chosen first overall by the Indianapolis Colts and RGIII was drafted second overall to the Washington Redskins. Both led their teams to the playoffs.
Who should we keep an eye on at this year’s Combine?
The answer is Geno Smith. The quarterback from West Virginia University is ready show critics that he can be a starting pro QB.
“I have the capabilities to be a franchise guy,” Smith told Jim Corbett from USA Today Sports. “It’s just about exhibiting that.”
The 22-year-old led the Mountaineers to an Orange Bowl win in 2011, but WVU faced a disappointing loss at the Pinstripe Bowl in December to Syracuse to end the 2012 season.
This year the Kansas City Chiefs have the number one overall draft pick and Smith is a possible selection.
Smith decided not to compete in last week’s Senior Bowl, but made the decision to throw at the combine, an event many top quarterback prospects choose not to participate in, in an effort to put his skills on display for scouts.
Explaining to Sports Radio Interviews his decision to throw at the combine, Smith said: “That’s one of my strong suits and I believe that you do well when the lights are on and the combine is a perfect opportunity for me to go out there and showcase my talents.”
One of Smith’s contenders for the top quarterback pick in the NFL Draft, Matt Barkley from the University of Southern California, announced earlier this week that he will attend but will not be throwing at the NFL Scouting Combine due to a late-season shoulder injury. Barkley is also projected as a possible first-round draft pick.
While last week ESPN analyst Mel Kiper said, “there’s no quarterback to remotely consider at No. 1 if you’re Kansas City,” Smith says he will use Kiper’s comment as motivation to perform well this weekend.
“My goal is to be picked No. 1 overall but at the same time, wherever I get picked I’m going to come in with the same mentality, same goals in mind, so I’m not really worried about what anyone says because everyone has an opinion,” Smith said on Sports Radio Interviews in response to Kiper’s draft predictions. ”I respect that. When I hear him say that it’s kind of a bit of added motivation for me because of how competitive I am, but it doesn’t really mean anything at all.”
Quarterbacks are scheduled to hit the field for workouts on Sunday, February 24.
Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals.