57 Million Reasons to Love Him
August 1, 2005 at 12:00 AM
By Matt Faust
From the very beginning, I haven't liked the Alex Smith selection. Nothing against the guy, he had a good college career and has loads of potential, I'm just skeptical that it will translate to the NFL level. Questionable arm strength, playing in a gimmicky offense and weak competition at the collegiate level leave me with a laundry list of doubts.
But why be a glass half empty kind of person? Here is a list of reasons why Alex Smith will be successful in the NFL. Why? Because I'd like to think that $57 million goes as far as it used to.
1. He is smart.
Smart people do well in life. Bill Gates is smart, and he created a billion dollar corporation. Albert Einstein was smart, and that theory of relativity hasn't failed him yet. Now Alex Smith is no Bill Gates or Albert Einstein, but you don't have to be to play football. Smith received an economics degree in only two years at the University of Utah and his intelligence helped him grasp and succeed quickly in Urban Meyer's offense. That same intelligence will help him learn the West Coast offense, read defenses and allow him to adapt to the NFL quicker. Keep in mind, one of Joe Montana's greatest assets was his intelligence, and he didn't do too bad. Don't think intelligence matters? Just ask Ryan Leaf.
2. He wins.
Everyone likes a winner, and Alex Smith is one. In his two years as a starter at Utah, Smith was 20-1 and guided the Utes to their first outright conference championship in 46 years during his sophomore season before leading them into a BCS game last year. At Helix high school, Smith was 25-1 and won two San Diego CIF section championships. Yes, that should be expected from a top collegiate player, but that kind of winning mentality is something that the 49ers were sorely lacking last season.
3. He didn't win the Heisman.
Eric Crouch. Chris Weinke. Danny Wuerffel. Gino Torretta. Ty Detmer. Andre Ware. Need I say more? The Heisman curse has hit quarterbacks the worst, and for once, not winning something may actually benefit Smith. Alex finished fourth behind Leinart, Peterson and 2003 Jason White who isn't even in a camp right now after failing to receive a contract from the Kansas City Chiefs. The Heisman is overrated and rarely goes to the best player in the nation, instead acting as a "lifetime achievement" award usually going to the best player on the best team. This is one award Smith is lucky to miss out on.
Oh, the burden of great potential. Having potential doesn't always mean you will realize it, but it also does give hope for the future. At 6'4", with good quickness and arm strength that continues to get better, Smith is loaded with potential and could be one of the elite quarterbacks in the league in a few seasons. Intangibles make good quarterbacks great ones, and Smith has plenty. With a strong work ethic and Mike McCarthy guiding him, the sky is the limit for Smith.
Frankie Albert. Y.A. Tittle. John Brodie. Joe Montana. Steve Young. The 49ers have had a history of great quarterbacks and Smith could be the next in line. Also, with a system designed for quarterbacks to succeed and 57 million reasons to believe the 49ers will do everything to see that he does, there is no reason to believe Smith won't be succesful.
Unless you're a glass half empty kind of person.
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