Daniel Jeremiah (@movethesticks) posted his latest mock draft the other day. He had Luke Joeckel, Dion Jordan, and Shariff Floyd as the top 3 picks. He then had the Eagles take QB Geno Smith at #4.
“With this move, Chip Kelly would be getting a young quarterback who has experience playing in an up-tempo offense. Michael Vick’s veteran presence will give Smith some time to sit and learn before he takes the reins in Philly.”
Jeremiah offered these follow-up comments on Twitter:
“I don’t have Geno graded as a top 20 player but the fit in Philly is interesting. His experience in a fast-paced offense is a huge plus.”
“(in a response to question about Geno and the Eagles) … I know people and I hear things.”
Let’s start with the last part first. Jeremiah is a former Eagles scout. Has he heard from a friend still on the staff that the Eagles want Smith? Very possible. It is also possible that Jeremiah is getting played. This is the season of mis-information. A buddy could have dropped that nugget to Jeremiah hoping he’d spread the rumor. This is all part of the pre-draft game to make some team that covets Geno trade up to get him.
Jeremiah himself has said on Twitter that this is the time of the year NOT to believe what you’re hearing. Teams want everyone confused. Maybe the Eagles want people to believe they like Smith simply to divert them from the fact the Eagles truly want Eric Fisher or Dee Milliner. If teams behind the Eagles think we’re going for Smith, they wouldn’t move up ahead of us for some other player.
Because Jeremiah is so well connected it is possible that the Eagles do legitimately like him. Now let’s get into that side of things.
A reader asked me about whether Chip Kelly might want Geno because of his ability to run West Virginia’s system so well. Coach Dana Holgorsen is one of the top offensive minds in college football. The NFL checks out his stuff and studies his concepts. Geno is his prize pupil. Maybe Kelly would love to draft Geno so that he could have a leg up at installing some of these new concepts. Jeremiah mentioned above that Geno’s experience in the up-tempo offense would be a good selling point for the Eagles. This thinking is logical and makes a ton of sense.
Except that we’re talking about the #4 pick in the draft.
You take a QB at that spot because he deserves it. If a coach and GM hitch their wagon to a QB in the Top 10, that guy needs to be someone they think can help lead the team to win a Super Bowl. Can you picture this guy leading your team on a game-winning drive with a playoff berth on the line? Can you see this QB running out the final 3:30 in a playoff game where you have a 1-point lead? Is this QB a franchise player, someone that you build around?
I don’t see that with Geno Smith.
As I’ve said all along, if Chip Kelly and the Eagles love Geno Smith and think he can be a star QB, take him. Make it that simple. The worst thing you can do is talk yourself into a QB. That’s a good way to sink a franchise. Understand that you can love a prospect and he still might fail. This is the NFL Draft we’re talking about. There are no guarantees. You want to do things the right way so that if a player does fail, you can live with it.
If you love Geno, draft him.
Do not try to rationalize the fit because of his college offense and background. You can do that in Rounds 2-7. 1st Round QBs need to be players that are special and all 32 teams should want. Brandon Weeden played at Oklahoma State, in an offense that Holgorsen helped to design. He left OSU to go to West Va in 2011. Holgorsen coached Weeden for a couple of years. Under Holgorsen’s tutelage, Brandon started in 2010 and posted big numbers (4277 yds, 34 TDs). Did Weeden bring anything special to Cleveland? The Browns are now looking to replace him after just a year.
I wish the Eagles had a shot at Andrew Luck or RG3, but we picked the wrong year to suck. Heck, I’d use the #4 pick on Ryan Tannehill if he were in this class. I think Geno Smith compares to Weeden from last year’s class. Geno is more athletic. Weeden has the better arm and is bigger. Geno does give you the ability to mix in some read-option, but he’s not going to be a weapon as a runner. While Geno has some athletic ability, he’s not a natural runner. He is a pocket passer.
I will be highly disappointed if the Eagles use the #4 pick on Geno Smith. If they trade back and take him, I’d be more comfortable, but that wouldn’t change the fact that I’m just not sold on Geno. Greg Cosell has pointed out the “slow eyes” issue. Geno is a smart QB, but as Ron Jaworski says so perfectly, a QB must process information quickly. Geno doesn’t do this. He’s late on his reads and decisions. I’m not sure that can be coached out of him. The situations in the NFL will only be tougher. Receivers will be less open. Pass rushers will be bigger, faster, and stronger.
Maybe Kelly thinks he can fix this. Maybe Kelly loves Geno’s personality. We’ll find out in 2 weeks. I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’d wager that Geno won’t be an Eagle anytime soon.