No position in any sport requires a more diverse skill set, both mental and physical. To effectively grade Smith in comparison to his future peers, I am comparing him in the skills that are most important to NFL success.
Arm strength is a bit overrated, as huge arms like JaMarcus Russell and Blaine Gabbert have busted hard. That having been said, there is a minimum level of arm strength to achieve success as an NFL quarterback.
Anything beyond that minimum is just a bonus, and could be the difference between a solid starter and a star.
Probably the most important attribute for a quarterback is accuracy. Throwing the ball with accuracy consistently is an absolute prerequisite to be an NFL quarterback.
Some quarterbacks just hit the bare minimum in terms of accuracy, showing inconsistency or just not throwing perfect balls. Others can fit the ball through the tightest of windows while regularly hitting their receivers in stride.
This is the goal for all NFL quarterbacks, and this ability is what separates the top tier from the mediocre.
By intelligence, I mean the ability to read defenses and knowing where to go with the football. Does the quarterback regularly throw into double coverage? Does he stare down his No. 1 target? These are not the attributes of an intelligent quarterback.
Guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are cerebral. They are almost never fooled, and they always seem to make good decisions. They are the standard that everyone else strives to achieve.
Let me be clear: There is a big difference between mobility and athleticism. Tom Brady is mobile, regularly shuffling around the pocket to avoid the rush. Michael Vick is athletic, but he gets sacked so much that his athleticism can almost be a detriment to the team.
So in terms of mobility, I'm grading not just the ability to maneuver around the pocket and make plays with one's feet, but also the intelligence to know when to do so.
The most difficult attribute to grade may be the most important. Work ethic, leadership and character are what guarantee that physical ability translates to on-field success. Even a raw player can develop into a star with the right work ethic.