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Geno Smith impresses at West Virginia pro day

David Smith, AP
Geno Smith works out at West Virginia Pro Day

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Geno Smith put on an impressive, 60-of-64 passing display before representatives for 29 NFL teams at West Virginia's pro day Thursday.

Immediately after, he gave his mom, Tracey Sellers a big hug.

"He's a real quiet kid who loves football, but things get turned up on the field," Sellers told USA TODAY. "His swag is on the field. ... He had a great day."
New Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley took notice, breaking down game film with the 6-3, 220-pound quarterback for 90 minutes afterward.

Four teams have huddled with Smith this week. New Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly, owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman visited campus Monday to put Smith through a workout.

Smith met with two undisclosed teams Wednesday night and has a workout March 22 planned with the Buffalo Bills.

The Jaguars select second overall in the NFL draft, which begins April 25. The Eagles have the 4th pick and the Bills hold the eighth spot.

The Jaguars and Eagles appear open to drafting him.

"We think he's a heck of a prospect," Eagles senior adviser Tom Donahoe told USA TODAY Sports.

"Geno was outstanding. He's got great velocity on the ball. He's very accurate and he can make all the throws."

Smith estimates at least a dozen teams have expressed interest.

"I had a private workout Monday with the Eagles that went well," he said. "I believe I can spin the ball with the best of them. I can make all the throws. The main thing teams want to see is how do I react in the classroom -- how much of the offense was I in control of.

"With the work I've put in, I put myself in a good position to be one of the top picks. Hopefully, that dream comes true."

What Smith needed to show evaluators inside the Caperton Indoor Facility was how much his footwork has improved since he began working with former NFL quarterback and IMG Academy director Chris Weinke two months ago. Weinke scripted Smith's pro-day regimen to include snaps taken from under center, something he rarely did in Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen's "Air Raid" spread-passing attack.

The day's only glitch came when Smith lofted what appeared a perfect deep fade pass intended for speed receiver Tavon Austin down the right side. The seemingly on-target throw wound up deflected by some divider netting 40 feet off the ground.

"The net was basically the best defender in the building," Smith joked later. "I wish I could have gotten a mulligan on that."

He adapted afterward, hitting the same pass by flattening the arc to avoid the netting.

"The big question teams had coming in was about Geno's feet," Weinke said. "Geno's competitive as hell. I could tell during warm-ups, he really wanted to show what he could do. He's made good strides in showing his footwork off and the ability to make every throw he's ever going to be asked to make in the NFL."

Smith's best throw was a 45-yard rope on a post route to receiver Ryan Nehlen, grandson of former West Virginia coach Don Nehlen.

"This was a lot easier than the combine," Smith said. "I was able to get into a better rhythm. I feel as though I can fit any offense.

"What they really care about is the production (42 touchdowns, 6 interceptions) and how well were you able to lead your team."

Once considered a late first rounder, Smith's stock rose perhaps as high as into the top five in what could be his tipping-point pro day.

"I don't think Chip Kelly would have been here if he wasn't serious about (drafting) Geno," Holgorsen said. "I'm hearing he's going to be probably a top five, top 10 pick. It all depends on who needs a quarterback."

At least six top-10 teams, including Arizona at No. 7 and the New York Jets picking 9th, fit the bill.

"If you walk away from this and don't think he's a top pick, I don't know what else Geno can do," Weinke said.

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