Yeah, I know we are a bit away from the Draft, but since the Bills free agency is about as boring as watching color bars on TV, why not get into some of the hoopla known as the NFL Draft. What I plan on doing is having the boys over at Optimum Scouting to give us the lowdown on some NFL prospects. Today, Eric Galko is going to fill us in on Geno Smith. Now, these guys know their stuff. Here's just a little bio about them from their site:
Optimum Scouting, LLC is a third party scouting service that works with professional teams, leagues, and others in the professional football area to aid in their prospect research and evaluation. Our scouting staff is comprised of trained, experienced scouts across the country.
1) What are the strengths and weakness of Geno Smith?
Two of Geno's best qualities as a quarterback are both above the shoulders. He's a very composed and confident quarterback who rarely gets rattled, even when the season took a downturn this year. As a passer, he possesses great ball placement, timing on delayed routes, and has subtle quickness in the pocket to make plays behind the line of scrimmage with his feet (though he can run too). He lacks a big time arm (not a major concern), didn't run a whole lot of pro concepts this year in NFL progressions, and lacks NFL decisiveness in his footwork and mechanics under pressure.
2) The Bills own the 8th selection in the draft, if you were their GM would you select him there if he falls to them?
Absolutely, but I doubt they'll get that chance. He's the best QB in this draft, and the last time a QB didn't go in the Top 4 picks was in 2000. If he does fall, Doug Marrone, Buddy Nix, and Ralph Wilson would be crazy to pass on a quarterback to build around, especially since his style would work well with CJ Spiller, the offense's best player.
3) Can he be a franchise QB?
Team's wouldn't take him in the 1st round if he wasn't. At this point in time, Geno Smith isn't far off of what Alex Smith is at this point in his career. In the future, he could develop into an Aaron Rodgers with slightly less arm strength. Anywhere in between there is a quarterback who can lead you to the Super Bowl. Sounds like a Franchise QB to me.
4) The Bills seem to be running a west coast offense under Doug Marrone. Do you think this would be the type of offense that Smith would be able to run in? Why?
It's tough to say exactly, but keep in mind that no team runs a true West Coast offense now. He does have good ball placement in short area, but he isn't overly polished in drop backs. Still, he can run those basic WCO principles as long as the offense can adapt to the natural talent that Geno Smith possesses.
5) How does Smith do in terms of throwing the deep ball and intermediate passes?
He's certainly tested as an intermediate passer, something he got plenty of work with with Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, both of which controlled those 10-15 yard routes. That's probably where he's more accurate and exciting as an accurate passer. I haven't seen him throw a consistent deep ball in NFL situations (better defensive backs mostly), but he has a good enough arm and the composure to stand and deliver vertically.
6) Can and should he start from day 1?
As I eluded to early, he's maybe an off-season and a few weeks away from contributing near where Alex Smith at this point in his career. At worst, he should be able to adjust to the NFL and be a game manager-plus. That's a major selling point for Smith. Plus, he's run some read option in his career, and has the feet to threaten as a runner (though he's NOT in RG3's or Kaepernick's level) early on as well.