Early on, before the Kansas City Chiefs traded for Alex Smith, some had him as the top overall pick. Since then, he's been linked to half the teams in the top 10 and also has been predicted to fall in the first round.
So with the draft just days away, where is Smith being projected to land?
In one interesting mock draft, Smith isn't even being projected as a first-round pick. Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times collected beat writers from every team and had them select for the team they cover. The only quarterback to go in the first round was Ryan Nassib at No. 8 to the Buffalo Bills.
That mock draft had its fair share of interesting selections, however, including Eric Fisher going at No. 2 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper going in the top 10, the Arizona Cardinals passing over tackle Lane Johnson, and Tyler Eifert going No. 12 to the Miami Dolphins.
Before you call Smith dropping out of the first round crazy, consider the following from ESPN Stats and Information:
"There have been four quarterbacks taken in the first round of the NFL draft each of the last two seasons. This year, Geno Smith is the top-rated quarterback in the class, but he has the lowest Scouts Inc. grade (91) of any top quarterback in the last nine seasons."
Most draft experts have Smith going in the first round, however.
In his "Grade-A pick-by-pick" draft, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper has the Philadelphia Eagles trading back into the first round and selecting Smith at No. 25. It's important to note, however, that this is not a mock draft but rather Kiper determining what he deems to be the perfect moves for each team, not what he thinks will happen.
Which is why, I suppose, he has the Detroit Lions trading up to No. 1 and selecting Dee Milliner. Yes, you read that correctly, and no, that isn't the ideal move for the Lions. But I digress.
In his last mock draft, Kiper had the Eagles taking Smith at No. 4, so clearly he thinks Chip Kelly is keen on Smith. Meanwhile, his ESPN colleague, Todd McShay, had Smith going No. 6 to the Cleveland Browns in his last mock, though he does note the Browns could look to move that pick for a team interested in the West Virginia quarterback.
Interestingly enough, Don Banks of Sports Illustrated also has Smith going to the Browns, though with the team trading out of the No. 6 position and nabbing the quarterback at No. 11. A year after selecting Brandon Weeden in the first round, it appears several analysts believe the Browns will go after Smith and give up on Weeden after a year.
At CBS Sports, Pat Kirwan has him going No. 3 to the Oakland Raiders. Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have him at No. 4 to the Eagles and Pete Prisco sees the Buffalo Bills nabbing him at No. 8.
Finally, Mike Mayock of NFL.com has Smith ranked as his No. 21 prospect overall, and quarterbacks are traditionally over-drafted. It's hard to see Smith dropping out of the top 10.
I have always believed Smith would be a top 10 pick, and I think he'll end up dropping to the Bills at No. 8. I just don't see a team selecting him earlier.
The Jaguars have Blaine Gabbert. The Raiders traded for Matt Flynn. The Eagles have Michael Vick and Nick Foles and are filling in blanks with a new defensive scheme. The Browns would cause their fanbase to hyperventilate if they used consecutive first-round picks on quarterbacks. And the Cardinals added Carson Palmer and have huge needs on the offensive line.
The draft board sets up perfectly for the Bills to select Smith unless the team prefers Nassib, that is. We shall see.
One thing is certain—uncertainty surrounds Smith at this year's draft. Where he ends up will be one of the biggest storylines on Thursday.
Or perhaps on Friday.
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