Geno Smith's Combine Performance Bolsters QB's 1st-Round Grade

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IFebruary 25, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 24: Geno Smith of West Virginia throws during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 24, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Geno Smith solidified his status as a legitimate first-round quarterback with an impressive showing at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine. 

He ran faster than any other quarterback at the combine, posted the second-highest mark in the vertical jump, posted the top mark in the broad jump and displayed excellent touch on his deep passes during field drills.

In particular, Smith's 4.59-second 40-yard dash impressed scouts, as nobody expected him to run that fast. We all knew the young man was athletic, but the knock on him was that he wasn't as athletic as some of the other quarterbacks coming out of college the past couple of years.

As a comparison, Jake Locker—the No. 8 pick of the 2011 NFL draft—posted the exact same time in Indianapolis two years ago. And Colin Kaepernick—one of the most explosive athletes in the NFL—ran his in 4.53 seconds that same year.

Smith's excellent combine performance was further bolstered by the failure of any other top quarterback to step up and show his worth as a first-round talent.

The only other quarterbacks who could be selected in the first couple of rounds that really boosted their stock were Tyler Bray and E.J. Manuel—both of whom will be lucky to be drafted in Round 2.

Combine stats and measurables don't make the player great, but given the fact that Smith was already considered to be the top quarterback in this year's draft class and a first-round lock, his showing in Indy bolstered his status.

The past couple of seasons, Smith absolutely shined for West Virginia, passing for 8,590 yards and 73 touchdowns while completing 68.5 percent of his passes. He can make every throw on the field and is a pocket-passer who has enough speed to make teams pay with his legs.

The Kansas City Chiefs own the No. 1 pick of the draft, and the team needs a quarterback. The latest chatter around the league suggests the team is leaning towards trading for Alex Smith of the 49ers and drafting offensive tackle Luke Joeckel (h/t NFL.com's Ian Rapoport via Around the League's Chris Wesseling).

Teams near the top of the draft that could pick Smith include the Oakland Raiders (No. 3), the Cleveland Browns (No. 6, if they don't believe in Brandon Weeden), the Arizona Cardinals (No. 7) and the Buffalo Bills (No. 8).

Wherever he lands, Smith's athleticism and rocket arm will serve him well. His combine didn't define him, but it surely helped his cause as a lock for a top-10 pick come late-April. 

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