Analyzing The Draft Prospects: Geno SmithBREAKING NEWS, Eagles Draft, News, NFLDraft Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
Don’t take the Eagles out of the mix for Geno Smith just yet. After working out the quarterback in West Virginia Monday with the big three of Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman, and Chip Kelly, in attendance, the Eagles are seemingly interested.
Many say that this report, first by Pro Football Talk, is just being used to generate a market for the Eagles fourth overall pick. The three teams ahead of the Eagles all seem satisfied with their quarterback position. Oakland is currently trying to restructure Carson Palmer’s huge contract but if they are unable to reach an agreement and are forced to release the 2002 Heisman Trophy winner, Geno Smith may be an option for them at number three.
As it stands now, the Eagles have definitely gotten the media hyping up this move. Perhaps that was their sole purpose to hold this workout. Arizona and Buffalo, sitting at seventh and eighth, are still in the market for a quarterback. Geno Smith is undoubtedly the best available quarterback in the draft. Being the quarterback driven league the NFL is today, no matter what the talent level, there will always be a quarterback who sneaks in to the top ten. Either of these teams could make a move with the Eagles, who are trying to stockpile picks and rebuild a team.
Let’s say for a minute that the Eagles aren’t putting up a smokescreen and are genuinely interested in the quarterback. It isn’t a stretch. There are currently five quarterbacks on the roster with the offseason additions of Dennis Dixon and G.J. Kinne. The Eagles will likely carry six quarterbacks into OTAs, the sixth either being Geno Smith or a mid-late round draft pick.
Smith was an incredible talent at West Virginia. He is an athletic guy who can run but prefers to stand tall in the pocket and deliver strikes with a rocket arm. The biggest downside is his inconsistent play. Through his first six games in 2012, Smith through 25 touchdowns without a single interception. In his last seven, 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. Six interceptions throughout a thirteen game season is impressive. But the TD to interception ratio change is something to worry about.
The athletic quarterback put together a respectable senior season with the Mountaineers. Finishing the season off with over 4,200 yards, Smith compiled 42 touchdowns and a 71.8 completion percentage. Strikingly similar to Robert Griffin III’s senior season stats, minus the 700 rushing yards that RG3 added to his yardage total.
It is no question that Chip Kelly will be running some version of the spread offense that he ran in Oregon. “I think,” says Smith on the spread offense, “I have the skill set that fits any offense, but I don’t think that’s my game.”
This is not to say Smith is completely ruling out playing the spread option, after all, he doesn’t have much of a choice where he ends up. After running a 4.59 40-yard dash, it is hard to think of Smith as the pure pocket quarterback he hopes to be. It is understandable that the 22-year-old wants to break the mold but he should not limit himself to staying in the pocket on every down. Clearly he is quick and athletic but after running only 17 times in 2012, he made it perfectly clear what he wants to be in the NFL.
This kind of style is what makes Smith an unlikely guy for the Eagles. I wrote in January that, with a few minor alterations, Nick Foles or Michael Vick could fit the offense Chip Kelly hopes to run. But with the signings of Dennis Dixon and GJ Kinne, it is clear what direction Kelly is heading and a running quarterback would be a necessity. Geno Smith does not fit the bill.
This private workout and a report that the Eagles clearly wanted to make public is almost certainly, primarily to set a market and increase the value of the fourth overall pick. The Eagles brass knows what they are doing and knows how to make a story a big one. Smokescreen or not, Geno Smith now has a connection to the Eagles and anyone who wants him has to go through the Eagles to get to him. The Buffalo Bills could be a team interested in moving up, now that they’ve released starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
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