West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has declined an invitation to play in this year’s Senior Bowl.
Smith took to Twitter to announce his decision:
Thanks to the Senior Bowl for the invite, but for the record I will not be participating. Once again thanks to the Senior Bowl committee.— Eugene Geno Smith (@GenoSmith_12) January 8, 2013
The Mountaineers star proved to be an elite passing prospect this season. He finished his senior year with 4,205 passing yards, a 71.2 completion percentage, 42 touchdown passes and just six interceptions.
His campaign peaked in a shootout against Baylor in November in which he led his team to a 70-63 victory by throwing eight touchdown passes and no interceptions. But his star faded later in the season as WVU lost six of its final eight games, including a 38-14 defeat in its bowl game against Syracuse.
But Smith is still the consensus No. 1 quarterback in the 2013 draft class, and this puts him in contention to be the Kansas City Chief’s choice as the top overall pick in April.
Every move he makes going forward will matter, and for a player in his position, playing in the Senior Bowl is a serious risk without much opportunity for a reward. He has not commented on his motivation for skipping the game, but his decision is not surprising.
A poor performance would drastically hurt his draft stock, while a solid outing would only keep his current standing as the top quarterback available intact.
This year’s class of signal-callers pales in comparison to last year’s group, which included Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, but the Chiefs are in desperate need of new talent under center.
The team will have a difficult decision on whether or not to fill its greatest need, or make its pick based on value. Until draft day, Smith will continue making careful moves to ensure that he is an attractive option for Kansas City.