Jump to content

Nolan Nawrocki slanders black QBs demeanor three years running


Recommended Posts


PFW draft guide clobbers another top QB prospect with questionable personal attacks.

by Doug Farrar

For the second time in three years, Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki has taken it upon himself to warn us of the dangers of that most suspect of characters -- the highly athletic top quarterback draft prospect. In his draft report detailing the pros and cons of West Virginia's Geno Smith -- the consensus top QB pick in this year's NFL draft -- Nawrocki takes off from the tape and gets personal.

"Not a student of the game. Nonchalant field presence — does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire. Mild practice demeanor — no urgency. Not committed or focused — marginal work ethic. Interviewed poorly at the Combine and did not show an understanding of concepts on the white board. Opted not to compete at the Senior Bowl and has approached offseason training as if he has already arrived and it shows in his body with minimal muscle definition or strength ... Needed to be coddled in college — cannot handle hard coaching.

"A cross between Akili Smith and Aaron Brooks, Smith is a gimmick, overhyped product of the system lacking the football savvy, work habits and focus to cement a starting job and could drain energy from a QB room. Will be overdrafted and struggle to produce against NFL defensive complexities."

Before the 2011 draft, Narwocki made waves with some similarly scathing critiques of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton -- who went on to set several rookie passing records with the Carolina Panthers.

“Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law — does not command respect from teammates and will always struggle to win a locker room . . . Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example. Immature and has had issues with authority. Not dependable.”

Now, what we don't know is where Nawrocki is getting this stuff. We assume he's talking to NFL teams, because if he isn't, he's making it up -- unless he's in the room with NFL teams during combine interviews, which we tend to doubt.

That's the first problem with the "analysis" that doesn't come strictly from tape -- the lack of clear and credible sources. If you poll a room full of NFL scouts, coaches, and executives about any player, you'll get a pretty divergent set of opinions. It's then your job as the analyst in question to vet those opinions, decide what's accurate and relevant, and present your version.

The second problem in this case is the overwhelming evidence in Smith's favor.

Jake Spavital, Texas A&M's current quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator, spent the last two seasons coaching West Virginia's quarterbacks, including and especially Geno Smith. Spavital is one of the most respected offensive minds in the college game, and he couldn't say enough about Smith's willingness to prepare, and how that manifested itself in game situations. In an article written by Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Spavital discussed how Smith practically had to be pulled out of the film room, how he picked up several subtle nuances of the game by watching snap after snap of Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees doing their thing, and how he learned to create plays on the fly.

“He could do it all,” Spavital said. “He could be under center. He can throw out of the shotgun. He can throw comebacks. He can pull it and run when he needs to. We got to do some pretty good stuff with Geno because he was such a good student of the game and we could do anything with him. ... He impresses me a lot with the things that he can do — how he operates the game, how he studies. He would actually sit there and bring ideas to the table. There were times when we let him check [the calls at the line] 80% of the game. We put a lot on him and he’s capable of doing that."

Spavital also coached Brandon Weeden at Oklahoma State. Weeden was lauded in the 2012 pre-draft process for his maturity and understanding of the game. To Spavital, however, Smith is on a different plane.

“[smith] studies it. With Brandon Weeden, I couldn’t say that about him. I love the guy to death but he had some good guys around him. Brandon knew how to get the ball to those guys. There were times at West Virginia when [smith] had to create things.”

Asked to summarize his quarterback's work ethic last October, a few days after Smith threw for 656 yards, eight touchdowns, and no picks against Baylor, Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen put it very succinctly.

"I'm sure he had three Texas games on his iPad," Holgorsen told the Houston Chronicle. "He's a student of the game."

Now, it just so happens that Smith is African-American, which is where the Akili Smith and Aaron Brooks comparisons most likely come from. Last time we checked, neither Smith nor Brooks threw for 42 touchdowns and just six picks in a single season, but maybe that's just us.

The problem here is not that Nawrocki takes off on Geno Smith's ability to succeed in the NFL.

The problem is that he's casting serious aspersions on the characters of players in a very public forum -- PFW's draft guide is among the most highly-read in the industry -- without having to back things up and separate opinion from fact. And when there are enough direct contradictions to Nawrocki's assessment of Smith's character and work ethic at the time Nawrocki's writing his report, there should be an elevated sense of responsibility when clashing with so much glowing praise.

Unlike Nawrocki, Holgorsen and Spavital spent day after day in Smith's presence, and they'd know above all if Smith wasn't taking his game seriously. It is highly unlikely that one or both men would contradict their earlier praise, so the question remains -- where is this stuff coming from? And how are we to trust its veracity?

In a more general sense, draft opinions are like ... well, you know. Everybody's got one, and they generally make too much noise. But it's one thing to expound on a draft prospect's future based solely on game tape. That's about looking at specific football attributes and deciding, in the analyst's mind, whether the player can make it work. When you're questioning a player's character, personality, and work ethic ... well, you're exiting the realm of the subjective, and you'd better be right.

Nawrocki may be right about Geno Smith for all we know, but given the more knowledgeable voices in Smith's corner and the track record of the analyst in question, we'll take the over prescribed by Smith's coaches ... and continue to wonder why the dime-store psychoanalysis is necessary in this -- or any other -- case.

Copyright 2013 Shutdown Corner

Copyright © 2013 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ty Duffy of the Big Lead.com does a good job breaking down how Nawrocki doesn't seem to apply the same critiques to Barkley that he does to Smith. I'd put the link up, but TheBigLead's mobile display is an abortion. Basically, Nawrocki kills Smith for being a system guy whose deficiencies are covered up by great talent, but never mentions that when talking about Barkley, which is lulz.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

White guilt!!

I'm Irish. We're simpatico. :)

I was following this on Twitter. The anti-Nawrocki sentiment exploded from every corner of the draft-media community as soon as he published this. I swear this isn't my liberal bias. This time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The kid's HC, OC and numerous other sources have pretty much squashed this.  Sure, some while say that Holgorsen is just defending his player, but this is the time of year where head and assistant coaches tell the truth about their players to the scouts and media (Read: Sam Montgomery and LSU assistant coaches) and the fact that every single thing regarding this kid's work ethic has been pristine, I'm gonna lean against Nawrocki on this at it seems to be all conjecture on his part. 


For what it's worth, this was/is the reason I've been high on Smith.  It's not the tools or production that I like, but it's the work ethic.  It's why you see Russel Wilson have the success that he did last year; he combined his athleticism with a sheer determination to be great.  It's often the later that decides your success in the NFL.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

considering Newton's production, he wasn't really "dead on" 


the Jets (and the 7 other QB needy teams in the top 10) would kill to have Cam Newton right now. 



what i read above said nothing about newton's talent but his character.  and he is a bit of a f#cker.  And yes, the jets would love to have him.  doesnt mean the writers comments about newtons character were wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cam Newton:



Positives: Very well-built with big deltoids and a strapping physique. Excellent arm strength — can make difficult throws off-balance while on the move and air out the deep ball, hitting receivers in stride 50 yards downfield. Throws with velocity. Composed in pressure situations and found ways to come through in the clutch. Big, strong, physical runner. Pounds defenders and can push a pile — almost always falls forward. Smooth-striding, fluid-moving athlete. Highly competitive and productive against top Southeastern Conference competition — rose to the occasion against Alabama and Oregon on the biggest of stages. Very savvy — confident, charming and charismatic and can light up a room. Highly competitive and plays with passion.

Negatives: Played in a simplified, run-first, dive-option read offense with very basic high-low reads. Worked exclusively out of the gun and was very quick to run at the first flash of coverage. Limited field vision — does not process the passing game. Inconsistent throwing mechanics with a flick delivery — generates all of his power from his upper-body strength and too often arms the ball. Streaky passer with spotty accuracy. Makes his receivers work hard and throws into coverage. Does not spin a tight spiral. Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law — does not command respect from teammates and always will struggle to win a locker room. Only a one-year producer. Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example. Immature and has had issues with authority. Not dependable.

Summary: An extremely talented, dual-threat QB who carried Auburn to a national title, Newton has the arm and athletic talent desired in a rollout, play-action, bootleg vertical passing game and would fit ideally into an offense such as that of the Redskins or Raiders. However, he always will test the rules, be difficult to manage and lacks the intangibles to win the trust of a locker room. Will require a very strong-willed, demanding coach to live up to his potential and avoid the trappings of fame and fortune, but even the greatest taskmaster will not be able to keep away the drama that is still swirling from a stained Heisman Trophy and littered recruiting trail that Newton left in the SEC. Can provide an initial spark, but will quickly be dissected and contained by NFL defensive coordinators, struggle to sustain success and will not prove worthy of an early investment. An overhyped, high-risk, high-reward selection with a glaring bust factor, Newton is sure to be drafted more highly than he should and could foreclose a risk-taking GM's job and taint a locker room.





OMG!  That was so AWFUL!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I know Nolan Nawrocki very, very well," Mayock said on ESPN's "Mike & Mike in the Morning" on Wednesday. "The guy has an unbelievable group of sources throughout the NFL. He works it tirelessly. I've been on the phone with the guy at midnight, 2 a.m., talking draft. The guy is crazy as far as his passion and love for the game."

Nawrocki, a former college safety, worked under the late, great Joel Buchsbaum at Pro Football Weekly. Mayock didn't think the criticism of Nawrocki was fair.

"When he puts that out there, there's no agenda. He's not trying to bash Cam Newton or Geno Smith. This is the feedback he's getting from scouts and what he believes based on his tape study. Does that mean it's right or wrong? No. We have to minimize that a little bit because scouts can say a lot of things to get their opinions out there for their own vested reasons."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know what quarterback comes from a simplified system, played with elite skill players, is an entitled, lazy, unserious choke artist with dubious leadership skills, and to top it off is injury prone? Matt Barkley. And I'm sure scouts told Nawrocki that, but Nawrocki seems to hear what he wants to hear. Mayock pushing it off on some unnamed scouts is nice, and I'm sure it'll buy him a continued, mutually-beneficial relationship with Nawrocki, but, if the media backlash is any indication, Nawrocki is f*cked here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you told me they passed a law that said Cam Newton was no longer around to run the football, I would still take him over Mark Sanchez.  10 times out of 10.


Of course. Talent generally outweights character....but looking back his write up on Cam was pretty accurate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...