By Connor Rogers, Staff Writer
It happens every year, making day one of the NFL draft a very exciting and unpredictable event: Players sliding further than expected. The Jets snagged a projected top ten pick in Quinton Coples last year with the 16th overall pick. With quarterback being the team’s biggest question mark, one must ask what the team does if Geno Smith (the draft’s top ranked quarterback) falls to them?
Until the combine passes us almost every mock draft has Smith pegged as the number one overall pick, as the Chiefs appear desperate for a quarterback. NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper believes as of now their is no quarterback worthy of being selected in the first round. The combine will most likely push at least one gun slinger into round one, as many players impress in workouts without pads.
Smith is an interesting player as his stats (4,205 yards, 42 touchdowns and six interceptions according to walterfootball.com) are incredible. Breaking him down on film he’s accurate, can make every throw, and moves very well. His biggest question marks are his consistency in big games, as he struggled against Texas Tech and Kansas State.
What many people overlook with Smith is his work ethic and intelligence. He’s often shown the ability to look off safeties in coverage and is described by coaches as a “perfectionist.” Personally I feel Smith has all of the tools to be a future top ten quarterback in the NFL, it’s a matter of him being surrounded by the right coaching and playmakers.
As stated above, like most quarterbacks, Smith needs playmakers to succeed. Currently the Jets don’t have many outside Santonio Holmes. If Smith does fall into their laps and they snag him, adding a scat back like Kenjon Barner in the later rounds would be vital (Smith excels in developing screens against teams that are blitz heavy).
If the Chiefs, Jaguars, Raiders, Cardinals, Browns, and Bills do pass on Smith, the Jets will most likely pull the trigger if they feel they can set him up to succeed. If the new general manager, Rex Ryan, and Woody Johnson are committed to rebuilding the offense, the team needs a quarterback not named Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow.
Although Smith falling into the Jets laps sounds superb, there are many reasons to stay away. First, many teams in front of the Jets need quarterbacks just as badly and will most likely have very good reasons for passing on him. Second, the Jets have desperate needs at many other areas that the first round can solve. A pass rushing outside linebacker or top offensive line prospect would go a long way in the rebuilding process.
While the draft is a few months away, player’s rankings on the big board will jump all over the place. It’ll be interesting to see how the Jets address quarterback in the offseason, yet even more interesting to see if their first round pick is part of the solution.