A new era appears to be underway in the Big Apple and the New York Jets could be handing the keys to their sputtering offense to rookie signal-caller Geno Smith. After getting passed up in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft on Thursday, multiple reports indicated that the former West Virginia star would return home on Friday for round two. Smith ultimately decided to attend the second day of festivities at Radio City Music Hall and it paid off in a big way.
The Jets nabbed Smith with the No. 39 overall selection fueling speculation that yet another quarterback controversy could be in the works in New York. The Jets did notify incumbent starter Mark Sanchez of their intention to draft a quarterback, and newly hired general manager John Idzik has been a proponent of open competition at virtually every spot on the depth chart.
"What this means for Mark Sanchez is competition and Mark is open to that," noted Idzik. "We've had discussions about that. I think he buys into the fact that that helps him. It helps any player on our team and, as a result, it helps our team."
Possibly taking after his bombastic head coach, Smith guaranteed the Jets would make a playoff appearance this upcoming season. If one person likes Smith's style, it's Rex Ryan.
"I hope he's right," said Ryan of Smith's guarantee. "You know what, I think that that speaks about the kind of competitor he is and the kind of teammate he is. So I think that he believes in himself, he believes as we all will and do in this football team. And so I appreciate that, that as a guy he believes, he's coming in, as a rookie he believes this team is good enough to go to the playoffs and certainly those are the expectations that we set for ourselves always. That's what you strive for. I don't know, we'll see if that pans out. But certainly I think that's the right mentality to have."
Smith has been on the Jets' draft radar for a long while, and when he fell into their laps in the second round it was the pick was a no-brainer for Gang Green.
"We spent a lot of time with Geno," admitted Idzik. "We spent a lot of time with a lot of our draft prospects. But him in particular, we've visited him, we went out to dinner with him, we brought him to New York, we went to his pro-day, we've watched him play, we've been on his campus. So we did our homework on Geno and we got a real good feel for him."
With its courtship of Smith complete, the coaching staff and front office are ready to build up and the franchise signal-caller of the future.
"We drafted Geno Smith because he has exceptional talent," urged Idzik. "Let's get him into a situation where we can help him develop that and let's see where that goes. We're not here to predict what level he's going to be. Let's just let him develop. I think we have a very healthy environment here in which he can develop, and let's see where it takes him."