Talking with Jaguar Rookie Paul Smith

Paul Smith (Matt Slocum/AP)

JagNation contributor Chris Harris sits down and talks to Jaguars quarterback Paul Smith about draft weekend, his prospects of making the team, and who he compares himself to. Chris Harris can be found on JagNation.com and Bigcatcountry.com, where he does a great job of covering the Jaguars.

Paul Smith: I remember being on the sidelines of College games and wanting to be like them. I wasn't around any NFL guys but I definitely wanted to be like a lot of them. So I knew if I ever got the opportunity to do this I wanted to be one of the guys the little kids wanted to be like.


Chris Harris: What was draft weekend like for you?

Paul Smith: I didn't have any expectations, thankfully,[Laughs] because if I did they probably wouldn't have been met because you know everybody that comes off a successful career hopes to be drafted. And so, of course I hoped to be drafted. Listening to analysts and critics and friends and family, that's just going to make you feel even more that there's a spot that you should be taken and anything worse than that is a negative. I've really tried to stay open minded about it and knew that none of it is in my hands so there's no need to worry about it.

So end result, I could not be more happier. I know Coach Koetter and Coach Shula could tell you the same because ever since the combine. It's funny, the events leading up to the combine and coming thereafter have really kind of guided my path to Jacksonville. It's just funny that the relationships that i have with people that have relationships with people on that coaching staff and know people from Jacksonville. It's just funny how the chips, you know, end up in a row. I'm really pleased with where I'm at now. I've told a lot of people that were telling me that they thought I was going to be drafted between in the fourth and sixth rounds. I've told a lot of them that I feel that I'm in the same situation if Jacksonville would have drafted me in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh rounds, I'm coming in there, I'm trying to make the team, I'm trying to prove I can play on this level. Other than the money that comes in the signing bonus, I'm in the no different situation. Luckily I'm grounded enough to know that money isn't the answer to everything.

I'm very happy with having the opportunity to come in and try and make that team, you know, learn from the guys that are there. Everything that I've heard about Coach Del Rio and having met coach Koetter and Coach Shula and know people that are connected to them, I couldn't be more excited.


Chris Harris: What happens when you agree to sign? Do you get a playbook right away?

Paul Smith: I'm not sure how much they sent other guys or if at all. They've sent everyone a packet with a letter from Coach Del Rio with a schedule and what to expect. Upcoming schedule, what we should bring, stuff that the rookies need to know.


Chris Harris: Was it relieving to see that the Jaguars released quarterback Lester Ricard shortly after your signing? Is it reassuring to know that you're coming into a team that has a clear role for developing a number three quarterback?

Paul Smith: Yeah, there's been some people commenting to me on that. I'll never shy away from competition, but I don't think it hurts anyones feelings when the competition contains less numbers. I'm definitely excited about coming in there and like I said, trying to prove my worth and show that this is a good investment on their part to bring me in as a free agent. I'm very excited to be the underdog. I'm very excited, believe it or not, to not get drafted and to have an opportunity to come in. Even though Jacksonville didn't draft me, they were talking to me on the phone throughout the fifth, sixth and seventh round the whole time, talking to coach Shula and even Coach Koetter some on draft day about their situation and how they still wanted me. That meant a lot to me, so thats why out of the 10 or 12 teams that showed interest at the end of the draft, that's why I chose to come to Jacksonville. Because I felt that I had the best opportunity there and also that it'd be the best fit for me, not just as far as playing time, but in that I'd fit the best.

I'm excited about being the underdog and coming in there and competing, getting on the field again.


Chris Harris: Tell us about the origins of the Golden Hurricane.

Paul Smith: You can say that I'm just as confused as everyone else on the issue of the Golden Hurricane. One of only two universities that have a singular title. Goes along with team unity, no individuals, we are one hurricane, even though hurricanes don't exist here (in Tulsa), but whatever. {Laughs}


Chris Harris: What quarterbacks would you compare yourself to? I've seen names like Jeff Garcia or Drew Brees tossed around, though a lot of comparisons are made based on height and size, which as I've said before, is a lousy way to grade a quarterback.

Paul Smith: I try not to do that. The only reason I say that is because people are going to try and interpret what you say and I don't feel arrogant enough to even throw any names out there. Everyone I compare myself to is successful in the NFL Cause you don't want to compare yourself to a flop or someone that didn't play for more than a couple years. I don't mind saying that I don't like comparing myself to anyone right now, cause they've proved themselves and I'm just trying to be like them and become like them.

Names that I do hear, Drew Brees. People have talked about that. The ability to make things happen with their feet. I try and do that. I try and go through my reads I still try and keep everything the same, but instead of throwing the ball away or crawling forward for a two yard gain I try and keep my eyes down-field and make things happen. People have compared that to Tony Romo, I try and play similar to that, I'm not going to improvise when it's not needed, but when things break down I like to try to keep a play alive. Not to a point where it will become detrimental. You won't see me take a three step drop and taking off sideways, I really try to stay within the boundaries of the system. That's what helped me (at Tulsa). Your instincts and your abilities have to take over at some point and that's what's helped me out. It's the ability to make things happen when there is not much there. I don't like comparing myself to the successful guys, they're worth more than I am as a college quarterback.


Chris Harris: Final thoughts?

Paul Smith: I heard people talking about Tom Brady being drafted in the seventh round (he was actually selected in the sixth-round) and him telling the owner this was the best decision that the organization has ever made. I guess I'm one step below the seventh round, being a free agent, but I really feel like, I can say the same thing. I want to tell somebody that this was the best decision that they could have made for a quarterback this year and hopefully it works out that it's the best decision they've made as an organization. Without being arrogant, you have to have the confidence to want to come in there to compete and succeed

I have seven chips on my shoulder.

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