04-09-2010, 06:27 AM
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Preparing for life as an UDFA
Here is an interesting article on Rusty Smith QB and how he is systematically planning for entry into the NFL as an Undrafted Free Agent.
BOCA RATON — At one point this winter, between tweaking his throwing motion and preparing for his wedding, former FAU quarterback Rusty Smith made a list.
On it, Smith, his fiancé Nicole Bronson and his father, Russell, ranked every NFL team, 1 to 32, weighing the coaching, the quarterback depth chart, the city, the best places to raise a family. ...
"Everything you can imagine," Smith said. "And it took us awhile to do it."
Rusty and Nicole, who will be married Sunday in his hometown of Jacksonville, want to be prepared if Smith is not drafted and must decide on multiple free-agent offers.
Tom Mills, Smith's agent, believes a decision would be made not long after the April 22-24 draft concludes.
"We want to find a team that can develop him," Mills said.
ESPN's Mel Kiper does not expect Smith to be taken in the seven-round draft, but he believes Smith will be referencing those rankings.
"He should be a priority undrafted free agent," Kiper said. "I think he gets to a camp."
Smith is ranked No. 29 among quarterbacks by ESPN. Most sites have him around 20. Just 12 quarterbacks were drafted last year and 13 were taken in 2008.
Frank Coyle, publisher of the Web site draftinsiders.com, agrees with Kiper, saying Smith could be a "coveted free agent." But Coyle also believes there is a chance one team could look at Smith, see a nice upside and take a chance.
"You only need one team to like him," Coyle said. "Take somebody like Jacksonville. I think he'd be a natural there. When you don't have a franchise guy at the top, you've got to bring guys in.
"The key thing for him is to get into a camp and get into an offense where he can settle in and learn a system."
That team could be the Tennessee Titans, who flew in Smith recently for an interview. Smith met with coach Jeff Fisher, offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger and quarterback coach Craig Johnson.
On Friday, Smith will be among a group of players from area colleges who will work out for the Dolphins.
What these teams will notice is a player with a slightly different motion from the one who threw for Sun Belt records of 10,112 yards and 76 touchdowns. Smith met in January with George Whitfield, who runs a quarterback training company in San Diego.
Whitfield worked with Smith on getting to the point where he ****s his arm quicker.
"He's got the pro-style experience. He's almost 6-foot-5. He's 230 pounds," Mills said. "His arm is plenty strong enough to make all the throws he has to make and he has good footwork.
"Whether he gets drafted or not isn't the most important thing. We have a real long-term approach to this."
Sounds like he is going about it the right way. Given a chance I am guessing he will definitely make the most of it.