Why the Raiders Should Not Draft Geno Smith


Feb 24, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith (13) participates in a passing drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The quarterback trickle down-effect has already begun, leaving many to ponder where Geno Smith’s fate lies.

Many NFL scouts around the league do not view the West Virginia product as a top-tier quarterback. However, realizing this, many teams in dire need of a proven signal-caller will still reach for that player in the draft.

A prime example of that was last year’s Ryan Tannehill. The Miami Dolphins were desperate for a gun slinger to groom and rolled the dice on Tannehill. With many other players rated much higher, such as Luke Kuechly (Panthers), David DeCastro (Steelers) and WR Michael Floyd (Cardinals), Dolphins’ general manager Jeff Ireland decided to reach for the Texas A&M pocket passer.

So with the 2013 NFL Draft just under two months away, what will the Oakland Raiders do with the third overall pick in this year’s draft? In my latest mock draft, I have them taking a stud defensive tackle in Sharrif Floyd (Florida). Should GM Mike McKenzie do the unthinkable, however, reaching for Geno Smith may be his boldest move yet.

According to NFL Network’s Gil Brandt, he has the Raiders drafting Smith in his latest mock draft. There is no question in my mind that Smith will be available when the Raiders are on the clock. My question is whether it makes sense for the Raiders, who are a team trying to re-build through the draft. My answer is a definite “no.”

First of all, Smith is not a top quarterback in my opinion, and his skill set is questionable at the next level. I do not even think he’s a first round talent. His inflated stats were a product of the spread offense, and should be taken into account when selecting a player. In addition, Smith’s inability to make plays by stepping up in the pocket should scare off the majority of NFL teams, as defenses will often blitz up the middle.

Dec 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) drops back to pass during the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Also, the Raiders already have a player comparable to Smith in Terrelle Pryor, making the selection of Smith a head scratcher. The two quarterbacks are two very similar players and mirror a similar skill set, which would make drafting Smith questionable.

If the Raiders do in fact pull the trigger on arguably the highest rated quarterback in this year’s draft, they will be making one of the biggest mistakes in franchise history. Simply, reaching for a player in hopes he can turn around a franchise is wishful thinking. Plus, the rookie quarterback would have no lineman up front to protect his front side and back side, which will cause him to develop bad habits and further regress his maturation process.

After analyzing McKenzie’s drafting philosophy, it remains highly unlikely he will reach for Geno Smith. However, just because he shuns away from Smith, does not mean he will not take a chance on Barkley or any other quarterback in the later rounds, as the risk versus reward is diminished.