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As the 2013 NFL draft closes in and excitement builds, it's only natural that hyperbole and emotion will sometimes take on a larger grading role than they should.
One antidote to this tendency is to lean as heavily as possible on facts, especially when it comes to players who, in other draft circumstances, would not be ranked as highly as they are this year.
This advice is especially apt when it comes to reviewing the following NFL draft prospects, as the metrics and game tape say their stock is higher than it should be.
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Reason overvalued: His vertical passing skills are still largely unproven
Last year, Smith had two of the best wide receivers in college football (Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey) and yet ESPN Stats & Information's research indicates that his average pass traveled only 7.7 yards downfield, which is the fewest air yards of any top quarterback prospect. The stats also show that in West Virginia's six losses, Smith completed fewer than a quarter of his throws that traveled 15 or more yards downfield and was off-target on more than half of such attempts.
According to cfbstats.com, these are the main reasons Smith ended up ranking fifth in yards per attempt (YPA) in Big 12 conference games.