The New York Jets feel as though they filled a few holes with their first selection in the fourth round on Sunday. Although Brad Smith is known for being a quarterback, GM Mike Tannenbaum and Coach Eric Mangini see him simply as a great playmaker.
"He's an outstanding football player," said Mangini. "He can catch the ball; he can throw the ball; he can do a lot of things. How he fits for us is something we're going to find out. I wouldn't rule anything out of the realm of possibility."
Smith comes to the Jets after starting every game of his career at quarterback for the Missouri Tigers. His ability to run and throw the ball exceptionally well proved his tremendous athleticism in college. Now Mangini hopes to see that athleticism in a different light, at least for the start of camp.
"We're going to start him at receiver," he said. "We've done things with receivers in the past where maybe they run the ball. Maybe we put him behind center on third down and give him some option ability."
Aside from his incredible offensive arsenal, Smith fits the important intellectual criteria in which Jets scouts and coaches have looked for all draft.
"He's a three-year captain," explained Mangini. "When he left the program, they wanted to shut it down. That's how important this guy was."
"He has rare leadership and intelligence," added Tannenbaum. "He was a starter from day one. His production and character is off the charts."
In two weeks, Brad Smith will get his first taste of the NFL, as well as a new position. The one thing that he will remain accustomed to, however, is his ability to do what he has done best, no matter where he lines up, and that's pure offensive production.
"I see myself as a playmaker," said Smith. "I was a playmaker at QB my whole college career and I think that once I have the ball in my hands I can make plays."
Smith and the rest of this year's draft class hope that their competitiveness and mental toughness will make ways for a successful squad.
"Guys with character usually win out. If you can combine character with talent you go from the good player to the great player," said Mangini. "Good people, good ability, good structure and a good plan is what wins out in the end."