It's confirmed: Akili Smith, who is widely regarded as one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history (as if you didn't already know), is neither deaf, blind, nor living as a hermit in the Smoky Mountains, which is what he would have to be in order to avoid hearing all of the Cam Newton comparisons. According to the mothership captain, Geoff Hobson, not only has the news reached the ears of Smith, but according to him, the comparisons are unwarranted. Akili, who is working on becoming a coach in his post-NFL career (if you can call it a career), spoke out on the matter saying,
I was nowhere near the athlete that Cam is. He's an amazing runner with great moves. And we ran different offenses. I never ran the zone option. But I'll always believe I had as good an arm as anybody."
The comparisons however have been well documented. Both players only had one year of success at the college level before they entered the draft, both players put up eye-popping statistics in that one season, and now there's a chance that both players will end up being Bengals if drafts Cam Newton in the first round of this year's draft. However, for Smith, the eventual success or failure of Newton is going to depend on whether or not coaches will give him enough time to sit and learn an NFL offense.
If they feel he's a one-year wonder, then, please, let him break in behind a veteran. I love his game. I think he'll be a very good NFL quarterback. If he does what I didn't do and not get caught up in the clubs and the entertainment thing and he does what he's supposed to do in the offseason, he'll be fine.
What advice would Smith give to NFL quarterbacks heading into the draft?
My advice to them, is to take care of your business in the offseason. Put the time in at the facility. The off-field thing is just as important as on field.
If only he had learned that a little bit earlier.