Is Geno Smith this year’s Robert Griffin?

Posted: October 3, 2012 in NFL Draft

Brad Davis/Icon SMI

The 2012 NFL Draft class is going to be remembered for one thing; quarterbacks. Four quarterbacks were selected in the first round and all four of them are starting in their rookie seasons. Third round pick, Russell Wilson, is also starting for Seattle which brings the total to five rookie quarterbacks that are starting this year in the NFL. The NFL is clearly a quarterback dominated league, and every team that doesn’t have a franchise quarterback is desperately looking for that player every year.

Entering this year, it was believed that the 2013 quarterback class was going to be much weaker than the 2012 class without can’t miss guys like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Matt Barkley was the consensus best quarterback in the class but after him there were a lot of question marks, but one player is trying to change that. West Virginia quarterback, Geno Smith, has rocketed up most draft boards after his amazing start in September, much like Robert Griffin III did last season.

Griffin started off the 2011 season ranked behind many quarterbacks including Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, and Landry Jones but he quickly rose up the draft boards after dominating the first month of the season.   Through four games last year Griffin had completed 82% of his passes for 1,308 yards, 18 TD’s and only 1 INT.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Flash forward to this year and Smith has very comparable numbers, completing 83% of his passes for 1,728 yards and 20 TD’s. Smith also started this year ranked in the middle of the pack on most NFL draft sites but now finds himself moving up on most people’s boards. NEPatriotsDraft.com already has moved Smith up to No. 1 in their Top 100 list.

Griffin continued his hot play throughout the 2011 season and eventually won the Heisman Trophy and was selected No. 2 in the NFL Draft. Smith has several key games coming up, including this weekend at Texas, but if he can continue to light up the scoreboards don’t be surprised if he’s your next Heisman winner and Top 5 draft pick.

There are some differences between Griffin and Smith though.  Griffin was a world class track athlete and beat teams more with his legs than Smith does. Griffin rushed for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final season at Baylor. He also ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Smith has only ran for 290 yards in his career with three touchdowns. NFL Draft Scout has Smith’s 40 time listed at 4.78. Smith is a good enough athlete to avoid the rush and to keep the play alive with his legs but make no mistake about it, he’s not necessarily a dual threat quarterback.

I think Smith is a more polished passer than Griffin was entering his final year at Baylor. Smith has shown good arm strength and good accuracy to all levels of the field. He also does a good job of going through his progressions and not focusing in on one receiver. Smith looks poised in the pocket, but when it collapses he has the athletic ability to evade the rush and to throw accurate passes while on the run. I definitely expect Smith to continue to rise up team’s draft boards and to eventually be selected early in the 2013 draft.

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