Nawrocki would clearly disagree with those lofty predictions based on his review. He pegged Smith as a top 50 selection.
"Not a student of the game," Nawrocki wrote. "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. Has small hands and glaring ball security issues (32 career fumbles). Really struggled handling the snow in Pinstripe Bowl (took two safeties) and will be troubled by the elements. Needed to be coddled in college - cannot handle hard coaching."
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock held a two-hour conference call last week and echoed the cold-weather concerns.
"From a value perspective and I don't think Geno Smith makes sense in Buffalo," Mayock said of the Bills, who have the No. 8 pick. "I saw him play in cold weather in the bowl game and I saw him play in cold weather at Iowa State, and I don't see him fitting in in an outdoor arena in Buffalo."
Mayock gave Smith a pass on other flaws.
"Another challenge is what coaches call catch, rock and throw," Mayock said. "You're in the shotgun, you catch it, you take a rocker step, no footwork, just a rocker step and the ball is out. So you're seeing a lot of quarterbacks that have never been under center in their lives who catch it and get rid of it.
"For instance, Geno Smith. Geno catches it and gets rid of the football. His footwork and posture and movement in the pocket are poor. Now you can't ding the kid on that because that's what he's been taught. His job is to win college games, not anything else. So you can't ding the kid for it. You have to be able to evaluate beyond that."
Mayock said Geno Smith has the most upside of any quarterback in this year's draft, ahead of former Florida State signal caller E.J. Manuel.
Gruden sees the promise, too.
"I think he's as complete from a versatility standpoint as anyone in this draft," Gruden said. "He can run a 4.55. I've seen him drive the ball accurately down the field. I've seen him throw the ball with touch and accuracy, make quick decisions and I've seen him be dominant at times.
"Obviously, down the stretch, I think (West Virginia) got manhandled in a couple football games. They didn't play well on defense. They got into a situation where they had to score basically every time they had the ball and that is a hard way to play quarterback.
"I think he's going to adapt nicely to any system that you want to run."
Contact sports editor Chuck McGill at chuck.mcg...@dailymail.com or 304-348-7949. Follow him on Twitter @chuckmcgill.