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Road to the Draft: Geno Smith

By Mark Gaughan

Geno Smith

Position: Quarterback
School: West Virginia

Measurements: 6-foot-2, 218 pounds
2012 stats: 4,205 yards, 71.2 percent completions, 42 TDs, 6 INTs.

Draft projection: First round

Lowdown: Smith has the best combination of size, mobility, arm strength and production among the quarterbacks in the draft. However, that does not make him anywhere near as highly regarded as last year’s top two QBs, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin, or even the No. 3 QB last year, Ryan Tannehill. He’s a pocket passer. He’s not a runner, but he can elude the rush and has better-than-average mobility. He ran the 40-yard dash in a fleet 4.59 seconds. He’s a hard worker.

His statistics are huge but are partly a byproduct of the wide-open, spread system of coach Dana Holgorsen’s Air Raid offense. He had 98 TD passes and 21 interceptions for his career, with 11,662 passing yards. He was 26-13 as a starter. He played almost exclusively from the shotgun, and his footwork is not always crisp. He did take snaps from center as a sophomore. But under pressure, his mechanics broke down at times. He seemed to stare down receivers more the second half of last season. In general, he shows all the tools but was inconsistent enough to give scouts concerns about his worthiness as a top-15 pick. He didn’t show great deep-ball accuracy. However, he performed well at his pro day this week. A downside to consider from the Buffalo Bills’ perspective: He was 0-3 against Doug Marrone’s Syracuse teams, with five TD passes and five INTs. The scores were 38-14 in the Pinstripe Bowl this year, 49-23 in 2011 and 19-14 in 2010.

He said it: Smith on why West Virginia closed 2-6 after starting 5-0: “I think more and more they just sold out to stop the pass. We had pretty much some good rushing lanes. We had some running backs, we had a back who wasn't healthy.”

The Mountaineers had to shift receiver Tavon Austin into the backfield more. “That really hurt us. We kind of struggled to move the chains and we weren't as consistent on third downs. So all of that and the combination was just what it was, not to make any excuses, coming into a new league, it was hard for us to rebound and get back on track."

The Buffalo News is profiling 50 prospects in 50 days leading up to next month's NFL Draft.



2013 draft | Doug Marrone | Geno Smith | Road to the Draft
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |