Before I begin, allow me to clarify my position: I’m convinced that Geno Smith should be the player the Kansas City Chiefs take with the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. I believe he can help turn this organization around and bring championship-caliber football back to this town. If John Dorsey selects any other player with the #1 pick I’ll be supremely disappointed. That said, there is one scenario where I’d co-sign that decision. If Geno Smith doesn’t throw at next week’s NFL Combine, I’ll completely understand it when the Chiefs draft another player with their top choice.
As crazy as that sounds, I mean every word of it. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have complicated Geno Smith’s path to the draft. Their success in 2012 has everyone convinced that Smith is an inferior quarterback prospect unworthy of the #1 overall pick. I’m not sure that I disagree with the notion that they were better prospects. I can be persuaded that they were both safer choices than Smith, but I also realize how being drafted just one year after the two of them has informed the dissenting opinions of the talking heads and draftniks.
People tend to forget that the word ”inferior” is a relative term. Luck and Griffin were better prospects, but that doesn’t change the fact that Geno Smith is a blue-chip talent. The problem is that he’s been compared to the two of them endlessly over the past six months. Their record-breaking rookie campaigns certainly didn’t help. If Smith were a quarterback in 2014′s class, I think we have a different discussion on our hands.
Geno’s situation is further compounded by a weak quarterback class surrounding him. The 2012 quarterback class produced five Week 1 starters, three of which lead their respective teams to the post-season. That class is already being heralded as one of the best of all-time.
With all of this in mind, how can Geno Smith become the consensus #1 pick over the next ten weeks? The answer is simple. The surest way to be taken #1 overall is to throw at the NFL Combine next week. There’s been some question about whether or not he will do that. Smith is currently training with former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke at the IMG Academy. There are a few problem areas in his game that he’s hoping to sort out before the draft. If there’s a knock on the kid, it’s his inconsistent mechanics.
Smith could stand to drive his throws more often. His leg drive can vary and that often causes his passes to “hump.” He also needs to work on having a more stable follow through. He can be sloppy at times and that has an effect on his ball placement. Poor follow through creates passes that sail. The difference between a completion in the collegiate ranks and the NFL is striking. If Smith can shore up his footwork and delivery, he’ll be able to achieve optimal results with an otherwise exceptional arm. Fitting passes into a smaller window will require better and more consistent mechanics. Geno needs time to work out the kinks in his game, but hopefully he won’t abstain from an opportunity to throw next week.
I’ll be concerned if Geno Smith opts not to throw at the NFL Combine. There’s far too much discussion about how no quarterback in this class is worthy of the #1 pick. Geno can separate himself by having a strong performance. If he doesn’t, that will leave me with serious concerns about how confident he is in his own abilities. It’s not uncommon for top quarterback prospects not to throw in Indianapolis, but this is a unique situation. The position isn’t as settled as it was in 2012. The best way to silence the experts is to make the trip to Indianapolis and prove that he’s the top choice in this year’s class. Not just among the quarterbacks, but among all positional players coming out of college.
It’s been 30 years since the Chiefs last drafted a quarterback in the opening round. Do the Chiefs really want a quarterback who’ll wait until mid-March (WVU’s Pro Day) to make his case as this year’s top quarterback? The most important position on the field requires a level of confidence that borders on arrogance. Pro Days rarely hurt top quarterback prospects because they’re much more controlled and scripted. Smith can end the debate by stepping onto the field in Indianapolis, alongside the other quarterback prospects, and making his case with his arm. If he doesn’t, I’ll have no issue with the Chiefs drafting Star Lotulelei.
I know this is unlikely to sit well with some members of Chiefs Kingdom. As always, you’re welcome to disagree in the comment section below. For his sake (and ours), I hope he decides to throw next week so that we can move forward. I’m sick of hearing about how the organization will be reaching to take him with its top pick. Give ‘em Hell next week Geno! Do us all a favor and keep Alex Smith out of the red and yellow uni next season.
Until next time, Addicts!