Going into the 2013 NFL Draft, Geno Smith was widely regarded as the best draft prospect at the quarterback position, but he was picked after E.J. Manuel and fell into the second round. He had a predictably rough beginning with the New York Jets, and Smith turned the ball over frequently by way of fumbles and interceptions. That said, Smith also showed plenty of promise, and he bounced back after four straight horrific outings from Weeks 9-13 (no touchdowns with six picks and a completion percentage around 40%) to finish the season strong. He was at his best when showing off his dual-threat ability, and the 6’3″, 221 pound quarterback was able to run for solid yardage without forcing runs or taking unnecessary hits.
There’s a lot that Smith needs to work on, but he flashed enough potential for the Jets to feel confident about his future going into his second season out of West Virginia. Jets head coach Rex Ryan gave his QB plenty of praise for maturing on the job, and that’s definitely a key thing to look for in a rookie quarterback.
Ryan said, via the New York Daily News’s Manish Mehta, “There are very few players that grew as much as Geno did. He had to come a million miles… and he did. You saw our team ascending and I think part of that is the way Geno played.”
Of course, he has plenty of more miles to go, as he threw 21 interceptions and completed just 55.8%. That said, it was great watching his confidence, as he did a great job of throwing deep passes and always stayed aggressive; it’s important to see a young quarterback remain unphased and bounce-back.