Geno Smith: Talented QB Must Improve Accuracy to Boost Draft Stock

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2013

MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 17:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drops back to pass against the Oklahoma Sooners during the game on November 17, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Geno Smith has all the talent to succeed in the NFL, but he must work on mechanics and become a more accurate quarterback to boost his stock before the draft.

The average fan is going to look at the above statement and point to Smith's stellar 71.2 percent completion percentage at West Virginia last year and say, "How can a quarterback lack accuracy and still complete such a high percentage?"

Accuracy isn't a measure of how many passes a quarterback completes, but a measure of how often he hits the target, which becomes minute in the NFL.

NFL scouts aren't sold on Smith. 

According to the Times of Trenton's Mark Eckel, a "highly-regarded personnel man" said of Smith, "He has a chance. I think he’ll be OK. I’m not sure he’s a franchise guy, a guy you can build around and go to a Super Bowl, but he has a better chance than any of the other ones."

This isn't an obscure observation, either. Smith made a huge impression at the combine by showing scouts that he's faster and more athletic than they thought he'd be, but athleticism doesn't get the job done by itself.

After the combine, NFL Network's Mike Mayock said, via's Kareem Copeland, "I want to bang the table because I want to like Geno Smith. But there's just too many inconsistencies on tape for me to say that Kansas City or anyone that high should take him."

Smith completed a ton of short passes in college to Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey (both smaller, shifty receivers) on bubble screens and quick-hitting slant patterns—passes they then took for huge gains in Dana Holgorsen's "Airraid" offense.

College defenses don't present nearly the same kind of challenge Smith will face in the pros. The windows become impossibly tight at the next level, and only truly accurate quarterbacks thrive. 

Smith showed off his lack of accuracy during the passing drills at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine. He threw many short passes behind his receivers, which will lead to interceptions more often than not in the NFL.

This young man possesses a strong arm, but he sometimes lacks the appropriate touch to lead his receivers on shorter throws. 

The best way to improve accuracy is by improving mechanics. 

Smith already has a strong base, and he is really accurate when he does get his feet set properly and his body is lined up in sync with his feet. But he has a tendency to rely on his strong arm sometimes and fails to point his lead foot in the proper direction.

He is almost certainly going to be the first quarterback taken on April 25 when the 2013 NFL draft commences, but Smith has a chance to improve his odds of being selected early by working hard from now until his pro day to improve his accuracy.


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