Name: Geno Smith
School: West Virginia
What the Numbers Say: If teams drafted players on numbers alone, Smith would have to be in consideration for not only the first quarterback off the board, but the #1 overall pick. The Senior from Miami, Florida put up huge numbers through the air in his fourth year in Morgantown, and for a while looked like a lock to become the Heisman Winner and #1 overall pick. Smith finished 2012 with 4,205 passing yards, while completing 71.2% of his passes, and registered an astounding 42/6 TD/INT ratio. Geno also improved his QB rating each season, finishing up with a rating of 163.9 this season, which was fifth best in the country. Some other stats that jump off the page on Smith’s 2012 season are his four games of completing over 85% of his passes, his seven 300+ yard passing games (including an unreal 656 yard performance against Baylor), and only throwing an INT in four of thirteen games, while throwing a TD in every game, including throwing for at least three in eight of them. Smith led West Virginia to a 7-6 record this season, where they finished up losing to Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl. He also has a BCS win under his belt, as WVU beat Clemson in the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl 70-33. Smith certainly played in a quarterback friendly system at WVU, but in the same breath those numbers speak for themselves.
What Smith is Saying: Appearing on a Kansas City radio station last week, Smith commented on the criticism of this year’s quarterback class as the NFL combine approaches. “I don’t know what they’re missing. That hurts to hear that because of the work that I’ve put in, but they evaluate and they do their scouting reports just as anyone else does, a fan of the game does. Quite honestly that makes no difference as to what my career will be. Aaron Rodgers was picked later on in the draft; Tom Brady [went later in the draft]. If anyone had any type of perfect formula then obviously those guys would have went higher and that’s what it comes down to. My goal is to be picked No. 1 overall but at the same time, wherever I get picked I’m going to come in with the same mentality, same goals in mind, so I’m not really worried about what anyone says because everyone has an opinion. I respect that. When I hear him say that it’s kind of a bit of added motivation for me because of how competitive I am, but it doesn’t really mean anything at all.”
Smith also said that he will participate fully at the Combine, including all passing drills.
Projection: As we enter the combine, you certainly can not rule out Smith going as high as #1 overall to Kansas City, as they obviously need a QB. At this point, most boards have Smith as the #1 ranked quarterback, but as Smith notes, that is not something he would settle for. The way quarterbacks shoot up draft boards however, I would be surprised if he made it past the first half of the first round.