By Connor Rogers, Staff Writer
A few months ago, former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was the projected number one overall pick for the 2013 NFL Draft. The quarterback needy Chiefs were selecting first overall and new head coach Andy Reid would certainly want to develop his own signal caller.
Apparently the Chiefs had other plans, as they traded for the 49ers former starter Alex Smith. After the Smith trade, all the dominoes fell for the franchises who were once desperate for quarterbacks.
The Chiefs coughed up their second overall pick (number 34 overall), a hefty price that speaks volumes of how highly they value Smith. Between the Chiefs and Jets there are seven teams including in order the Jaguars, Raiders, Eagles, Lions, Browns, Cardinals, and Bills. Lets eliminate the obvious in the Eagles who have Mike Vick and the Lions who have Matthew Stafford. Geno isn’t exactly an ideal fit to develop for Chip Kelly’s offense and Matthew Stafford isn’t leaving Detroit anytime soon.
The Jaguars recently used a high first round selection on Blaine Gabbert and have as many holes a team could stockpile. They need elite talent and word around the league is that Geno Smith is not regarded as a top five worthy selection, possibly even not a top ten selection. The Jaguars will most likely take one of the superb defensive talents at number two overall and find Gabbert camp competition in the middle rounds (there’s a plethora of middle tier talent quarterbacks this year).
The Raiders seemed like the most likely destination as they were reportedly highly interested in Geno. Things have recently changed as they acquired Seattle’s Matt Flynn, a player GM Reggie Mckenzie is quite familiar with from their time in Green Bay. The Raiders, much like the Jaguars, have too many holes to add another quarterback at number three that isn’t regarded as an elite talent (much like Andrew Luck and RGIII were last year).
Lets talk about the Cleveland Browns, the team most likely to snag Geno Smith in the top ten. The Browns used a first round pick on quarterback Brandon Weeden last year, a highly questionably move. With a new front office, Weeden has no guarantees to start. They also traded Colt McCoy to the 49ers this offseason, leaving a hole at quarterback on the roster. A camp competition with Weeden and Geno might be the Browns best option, unless they select a defensive talent like corner Dee Milliner (they could use secondary help desperately).
The final two teams in front of the Jets are the Arizona Cardinals and AFC East opponent Buffalo Bills. The Cardinals have recently acquired Carson Palmer from the Raiders for practically nothing. The Bills signed Kevin Kolb, a player that’s never really had a fair shot considering the offensive line, or lack thereof, in Arizona. Each player is expected to start at quarterback for their new teams. The Cardinals are almost a lock to take one of the top tier offensive tackles as their current offensive line is putrid. The Bills would like to add talent along their offensive line early and most likely take a guy like Ryan Nassib in the middle of the draft.
I’m not advocating the Jets select Geno Smith if he slides to their selection at number nine in the first round, but it’s certainly a possibility. The recent additions at quarterback for a few teams in the top eight selections changes their needs. From the Jets perspective, if they are sold on Geno as a first round talent, it makes complete sense. Rex Ryan will never coach a team that ends up with the first overall pick in a draft, wiping out the idea of taking Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel next year. It’s also quite clear the team has lost confidence in Mark Sanchez and would like to move on as soon as possible.
What could make matters more interesting is if the Jets trade Darrelle Revis for Tampa Bay’s 13th overall selection. Having another early first round pick would allow the Jets to fill their pass rushing need as well as taking a gamble on the top rated quarterback. There’s no guarantees of what direction the team goes, but there is always a guarantee of day one draft drama.