In most cases, the NFL Draft is the best way to build an offense for the future. The 2013 class, though, is very thin at the quarterback position.
Geno Smith is almost universally regarded as the best quarterback available and a virtual lock for a top 5 pick. Other than him, teams would almost certainly be reaching for whomever they select at quarterback.
In addition, no quarterback (Smith included) looks as a safe an option as that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the first two selections in the 2012 NFL Draft. Every prospect in this year's iteration has plenty of knocks that could limit them as an NFL quarterback.
That's why getting Smith is a much more sensible option. He's already established himself as a very good quarterback in the league.
With the rise of Colin Kaepernick, this year is Smith's last in San Francisco, which is quite a turnaround from how the 2012 season began.
It was just this past offseason that Smith signed an extension with the 49ers (h/t ESPN). It's not going to be too expensive, though, for the team to terminate the contract.
As Kaepernick has led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, it's easy to forget that Smith led the 49ers to a 13-3 record last year and lost in overtime to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game, a contest that saw Smith throw for two touchdown with no turnovers.
You could understand if Smith were to feel bitter by his team's success without him. Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports reported that hasn't been the case at all:
"I'm so happy, man," Alex Smith said afterward as he dressed alone at his locker. "This is so surreal. It's such a crazy time, such a crazy moment. Obviously, it's been a unique year, and it would be great to be in there. But I couldn't be happier. This is a great group of guys, and they're all Super Bowl bound. I'm just so happy for all of them."
That quote exemplifies the professionalism of Smith. After all he's been through in San Francisco, he's still able to enjoy the moment albeit from the bench.
At 28, Smith isn't the kind of building block that a rookie QB would build their franchise around. However, he still has plenty of very good years left in the league.
He might be a bad option for a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have many more holes to fill than at quarterback.
On the other hand, Smith would be a smart move for a team like the New York Jets, who have a solid team, but are in desperate need of an efficient quarterback to lead their offense.
With Smith's experience and performance last year, he's illustrated that he has what it takes in to get a team to the postseason and help it advance.
Smith is not going to light up the scoreboard leading a high-profile air attack. Considered a "game manager," he will provide a steady option who rarely turns the ball over. He's thrown 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions over the past two seasons.
Although his numbers don't qualify him among the league leaders, Smith's 104.1 passer rating would have him in third in the NFL and his 70.2 completion percentage is also among the league's best.
Whatever team gets Smith is immediately solving whatever issues it has at quarterback in a way a rookie (at least in this year's crop) could not.
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