With the No. 39 overall selection in April's draft, the Jets took a chance on their quarterback of the future by rolling the dice on West Virginia standout Geno Smith. Find out whether the front office's gamble will pay off during Smith's first season in the Big Apple.
The Pick: Geno Smith
, Quarterback, West Virginia
Smith had an explosive start to his senior year in Morgantown, and ended the year as one of the top quarterbacks in all of college football. He threw for 4,205 yards with 42 touchdowns and six interceptions. Smith has a strong arm and can hit small windows, so his placement is above average. He helped lead West Virginia to a 7-6 record and clinched a berth in the Pinstripe bowl, which the Mountaineers eventually lost to Syracuse
38-14. NFL scouts have questioned his ability to throw the deep ball with accuracy, but he put that to rest with an impressive showing at West Virginia's Pro Day. During the session not only showed his physical abilities, but he exemplified his mental toughness on the field, which caught the eyes of NFL front offices. Lastly, he has above average mobility in the pocket which enables him to find the open receiver or rush for the first down if need be. Smith is an athletic quarterback who is constantly making the right decision on the field.
The Green and White will most likely continue the Mark Sanchez
experiment, but expect the fans and media to start pushing Rex Ryan
to start Smith if Sanchez has another subpar year. The depth chart is open and all of the quarterbacks will have to compete during training snap to receive snaps. Right now Smith will most likely be third on the depth chart beating out Matt Simms
. The former West Virginia star will likely watch Mark Sanchez and David Garrard for this upcoming season. Now that Tim Tebow
has been released, he should easily be the running quarterback of the group, but defenses have to remember, Smith was one of the top passing quarterbacks in all of college last season.
Although there may be some active quarterbacks who are similar to Smith, it's hard not to compare him to recently retired Philadelphia Eagles
and Washington Redskins
quarterback Donovan McNabb. Smith is a pass-first quarterback, but he has the athletic ability to run the ball, which is similar to the way McNabb played. Smith is also in a similar spot because he has a lot to prove for a rebuilding football team. When McNabb was selected out of Syracuse University he joined a bad Eagles team, but he eventually led them to countless NFC Championship games and Super XXXIX, which he lost to the New England Patriots
. Smith did not have the season he wanted in his final year with the Mountaineers, considering the offensive weapons he had around him, but he is similar to McNabb because both players want the ball in their hands when the game is on the line.
Smith brings something new to the organization and that is accuracy. If the Jets choose to start him from the onset of the season they should see a steady decline in interceptions. The Jets selected several offensive linemen in the draft and the returning starters did not produce during the 2012 season, so Smith will have to use his speed to buy some time in the pocket. The quarterback position was not Gang Green's biggest need, but Smith was too good to pass up, especially since he dropped to the second round. Smith is now the future of the organization and will be watching Mark Sanchez and David Garrard closely to learn how the NFL works. Only time will tell if this was a smart choice by John Idzik, but right now it seems like a bad decision because the Jets were already carrying five quarterbacks and had bigger needs at several different positions. Smith says he is ready to be a franchise quarterback, now is his time to prove it.