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2013 NFL Draft: West Virginia Quarterback Geno Smith

February 1st, 2013 at 4:41 PM
By Donald Lappe

The 2013 NFL Draft has an interesting group of quarterbacks. Geno Smith of West Virginia is generally regarded as the top prospect in the bunch and has been projected to go first overall to the Kansas City Chiefs at the 2013 NFL Draft. Some would prefer Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel as a much safer pick, but quarterbacks are a commodity in the NFL and it's difficult to pass up one who has the potential to be great. The question is: does Geno Smith have the tools to be great in the NFL?

Geno Smith finished his senior season at West Virginia with gaudy numbers, but is he a franchise quarterback in the NFL? Where does he fit in the 2013 NFL Draft?

It's an interesting case of big college numbers plus an overall lack of elite quarterback play in the NFL along with a weak class of quarterbacks in the 2013 NFL Draft. Playing in the Senior Bowl, more importantly practicing during Senior Bowl week, can carry some risks for prospects. If they have a tough week or a tough game, their stock can drop heavily. Geno Smith chose not to participate in the Senior Bowl, seemingly to protect his stock even though his final collegiate performance in the bowl game against Syracuse wasn't a stellar one.

Another thing that could hurt is the 1-5 slide that befell the Mountaineers after a 5-0 start. Sure, the defense was horrible, but winning and losing is always going to be attributed to quarterback play. Plus, the first two losses of the season came against two of the better defenses West Virginia faced and Geno Smith was only able to lead the offense to 14 points in each game. He also seems to have some issues working through his progression when his first read isn't available.

At 6-3, 220, Geno Smith has the size teams are looking for and has some mobility within the pocket. He's not a burner like Robert Griffin III but he's also not the polished passer from a pro style offense that Andrew Luck was viewed as at this time. His stats look good, with 42 touchdowns, only six interceptions and 4,205 yards passing in 2012. But is he the No. 1 overall pick?

An interesting way to look at it is to compare him to the 2012 NFL Draft quarterback class. He would certainly fall somewhere below Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. He would have to slot in somewhere between No. 3-6, with Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden and Russell Wilson.

None of those guys were worthy of the No. 1 overall selection. So while it's certainly a different quarterback class in the 2013 NFL Draft, it's tough to justify Geno Smith going first overall.

Also…

Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, 2013 NFL Draft, Andrew Luck, Brandon Weeden, Geno Smith, Kansas City Chiefs, Luke Joeckel, NFL, NFL Draft, Prospects, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, West Virginia

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