There were a few points that came up in the earlier discussion on whether the Eagles would target Geno Smith at #4. One of the points I made is that drafting him would greatly affect Chip Kelly’s NFL career. If you take a QB that high and he busts, it can easily cost the coach and GM their jobs. A few people came at this idea from an older perspective. Rookie salaries for Top 5 picks used to be insane. If you missed on a player, it would greatly hurt you economically. This is no longer the case, as several people pointed out.
I was referring to time as much as anything. When you draft a QB early, you will build around that player. You focus on developing him. That means lots of coaching. Lots of practice reps. Lots of game reps. You can’t play a QB just a few games. You have to give him an extended chance to show what he can do. At the end of that period. if the answer is “bust”, you’ve set the team back.
Some wondered about the difference in a QB early vs an OL or LB or whatever. There are a couple of huge differences. QB is a sink or swim spot. If you fail, you’re of little value to the team. Freddie Mitchell failed to become a good WR, but was a solid slot guy. Danny Watkins has been a major disappointment, but can be a backup OG. That’s not good value, but it is something. A failed QB offers little to nothing.
QB is also a critical spot that can affect other positions. If a QB doesn’t play well, it can harm the development of WRs and TEs. Jared Cook desperately wanted out of Tennessee because he wanted to play with a good QB. Cook wasn’t playing in a creative offense or a productive one. Being wrong at QB has a trickle-down effect. You can make up for a so-so LT or slow WR or whatever. A bad QB hurts the team in a lot of ways. Being wrong there is vastly different than other positions.
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Some wondered about the big deal in Geno throwing short passes. Here’s why that is an issue. Short passes are generally one-read throws. The QB drops back with a primary target and then feeds him the ball. There is no reading of the defense. There is minimal decision-making. Those are 2 of the main factors in successful QB play at the NFL level. If the QB has little experience at them, it makes developing him all that much harder.
Someone pointed out that this is true of many of the Air Raid offenses. That’s absolutely right. And that’s why taking a QB from any of those schools is something you have to consider carefully. RG3 was one. The difference is that he was so special physically and played at such a high level in 2011, you overlooked his issues and took the chance.
It could be that some other team will do that with Geno in the Top 10. I wouldn’t.
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There were a couple of readers who talked about the importance of Kelly getting a QB this year so that he’s got maximum time to work with the player. That is logical and I agree with it. However, you do not roll the dice on QBs. You must take a player you really believe in. If there are any doubts, you wait and get the QB later in the draft. I have no problem with Kelly taking a chance on Matt Scott or Zac Dysert or someone else if it happens in the 3rd round or lower. I could live with the team going for a QB in the 2nd, depending on who it is. I want no part of Geno at #4. I think you can get a better player and improve the quality of the overall team.
I’d love to see Kelly draft Matt Scott. That’s a kid who has talent, but some issues. Get him in the 3rd or 4th round and see what you can do. That’s the kind of risk I can support. Then next spring you’ll know what you think of Foles and some other young guys. You can decide to go for an elite QB prospect or to hold tight and let your current guys develop.
You cannot take a QB at #4 just to give Chip a player to develop. Chip does seem to really want true competition across the team. That’s good. It would help to have a rookie QB in the mix, to push Vick, Foles, Dixon, and the gang. Pete Carroll has had good luck with going off competition in Seattle. Understand that he drafted Russell Wilson in the 3rd round and traded a mid-round pick for Charlie Whitehurst. Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn were both FA signings. Carroll spent resources to get a good QB battle, but he didn’t invest pick #4. Again, I’ve got no problem with Kelly taking a QB outside the 1st round.
If Chip does feel differently and thinks Geno Smith can be a high quality starting QB, then go get him and tell me to shut up. This is all about what Chip thinks.
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A few of you heard rumors about Smith interviewing poorly. I can neither confirm nor deny that stuff.
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All of the talk about the Eagles and Geno has got to have them on Cloud Nine. Ron Jaworski said he thinks it is 50/50 that the Eagles draft Smith. I think that is music to the ears of Howie Roseman. I still believe the Eagles would love someone to move up and draft Smith. Buffalo is the best fit. Smith has to be on the board at #4 and the Bills have to believe that the Eagles have interest in him.
Don’t hold your breath for this scenario, but it is the one that I think the Eagles want to play out.