Eagles Wake-Up Call: Tweaking Geno Smith
When Geno Smith recounted his private workout with the Eagles, he did so with a big smile on his face.
That according to Heisman Trophy winner and Director at IMG Academy Chris Weinke, who is working with Smith to help fine-tune the quarterback’s game in front of the NFL Draft.
“He was asked to make a lot of throws and plays with his feet,” said Weinke in a phone conversation with Birds 24/7. “He felt there was a comfortable fit with the people, he felt comfortable in the classroom. He thought he did very well.”
Weinke has worked with Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Christian Ponder, Ryan Tannehill and Kirk Cousins since taking on this role a little over three years ago. Right now he is coaching Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson and Zac Dysert as well. Most of the buzz right now is around Smith. He is expected to be the first QB off the board, and could be selected by the Eagles at No. 4.
Weinke is helping to clean up some of Smith’s technical imperfections. They have smoothed out his drop. Instead of bouncing and lifting his feet way up in the air, Weinke explains that he is now “cutting the grass with his feet” and gliding back. That, in turn, has positively impacted Smith’s upper half.
“He would rock his shoulders a little bit,” said the former Florida State signal-caller, who spent seven seasons in the NFL with the Panthers and Niners. “We fixed that.”
These are minor tweaks, mind you. A quarterback coming off a season in which he completed 71 percent of his throws for over 4,000 yards with 42 touchdowns to six interceptions is not in need of an overhaul.
Weinke was hesitant to compare Smith to other QBs, but ultimately relented and gave two names: A young Randall Cunningham because of his lean body, good feet, loose delivery and strong arm; and RGIII on account of his accurate, high-velocity throws and his likability.
“He is not a read-option quarterback or a dropback quarterback, he is kind of the hybrid that everyone is talking about these days,” said Weinke. “Watching Chip at Oregon, he wants a quarterback that can attack, is able to make quick decisions, is accurate and can change plays. He wants a good athlete with great accuracy.
“I think it is a perfect fit.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
All the latest draft buzz right here.
Tom Coughlin said of Kelly: “He should have been coaching for me!”
Sheil goes to the All-22 to explain why Kelly was drawn to TE James Casey.
The Eagles will take an up-close look at DT Star Lotulelei.
Arrelious Benn is unhappy with his career to date.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Is Geno Smith’s stock rising, or is it a smokescreen? SI.com ponders:
Teams litter the pre-draft process with smokescreens designed to throw other franchises off the scent. Maybe Philadelphia really is considering Smith at No. 4 overall. Or maybe the Eagles are trying to make everyone else think that they’re considering Smith at No. 4 overall, so the trade value for that spot escalates.
This type of action will happen with an untold number of prospects heading into late April — it’s already occurring to great degree with guys like Star Lotulelei and Jarvis Jones; teams outside the top 15 would love to use those players’ questionable medicals to push down their value.
In Todd McShay’s updated top 32, he has BYU DE Ezekial Ansah up two spots to sixth overall:
Analysis: Ansah is raw and lacks ideal experience, but his elite combination of size, speed, length and overall athleticism makes him a disruptive presence. After an impressive combine performance, the comparisons to Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul are warranted. Ansah is likely to be a top-10 pick.
Draft inching closer, free agency still in play. Right back in busy season.