If former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith falls to the New York Jets at No. 9 overall in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft, the team must do what is best for the future of the franchise and consider the accomplished passer.
In fact, taking Smith with the team’s first-round pick would be the ideal fit.
With Smith scheduled for a two-day pre-draft visit with the Jets, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the organization is doing its due diligence with the players it feels can fall to the latter half of the top 10:
There are plenty of viable options for a team with as many glaring needs as New York, but if a player as gifted as Smith falls all the way to No. 9, the Jets would be foolish to pass on such an upgrade at a key position of need.
While Smith may once have been viewed as a lock to be taken in the first five selections, moves by teams slotted ahead of New York like the Buffalo Bills (added Kevin Kolb), the Arizona Cardinals (added Carson Palmer) and the Oakland Raiders (added Matt Flynn) have opened up the very real possibility that he could be available when the Jets make their first-round pick.
Not only would the Jets be selecting the best quarterback in this class, but the organization would also have a legitimate reason to shop incumbent starter Mark Sanchez on the trade market and eventually move him.
Sanchez has never accomplished what the team had hoped for him and has continued to regress in his development as a quarterback at the NFL level. Add in the fact that the team signed oft-injured veteran David Garrard to compete for the starting job (h/t Mike Garafolo of USA Today), and the franchise’s dire quarterback situation should force the team to take Smith if he's available.
Head coach Rex Ryan knows he doesn’t have many chances left, and after the failure with Sanchez, taking Smith should be his last-ditch effort at finding a franchise quarterback.
Smith has the talent and marketability to be the face of the New York Jets.
The former West Virginia star may have the ability to use his legs to get out of trouble, but there is no doubt that he has been focused on proving to teams that he is the best passing quarterback in the 2013 class and the best overall talent available.
Smith threw for an astounding 4,205 yards, 42 touchdowns and just six interceptions during the 2012 campaign but, more importantly, showed vast improvements in his passing abilities every year he was at West Virginia.
The raw talent that Smith has right now is unquestionable, and with the guidance of an NFL coaching staff—despite what we have seen Ryan do with Sanchez, Tim Tebow and company—the former collegiate star could blossom into a top player at the next level.
With New York so desperate for a change of pace and Smith looking to prove all the doubters wrong, this would be the perfect selection for Gang Green.