A few minutes after the NFL Draft’s 1st round concluded Thursday night, ESPN’s Suzy Kolber reported Geno Smith would not attend the second round tonight. Smith sat glumly in the Green Room, tinkering on his cell phone as teams repeatedly passed on him. Surely nobody would jump to any ridiculous conclusions based on Smith’s decision to avoid another trip to Radio City Music Hall.
Oh. Cue Mike Florio.
If Smith doesn’t return, he’ll be confirming in the minds of many that he can’t show grit and resolve under pressure. That he’ll sink his head and slump his shoulders when the team is 14 points behind in the third quarter. That he’ll pout if he’s not the starter or if he gets benched. That he’ll complain about the use of too many running plays when he prefers to air it out.
See, someone who attended a spectacle and decided to no longer be part of that spectacle means Nolan Nawrocki wins.
This is one where the outcome dictates the narrative. Oh, he is pissed about dropping down the board, and plays with a chip on his shoulder and wins MVP. Fiery competitor. Oh, he is pissed about dropping down the board, and turns out to suck. He lacks mental toughness.
The news has come out today that Geno Smith will in fact attend tonight. Whether it is because he has had some contact from teams and has re-considered, or whether his agent and PR people got involved to silence the brayers among us, we may not know. Now, it is like he was down by two touchdowns, went into the locker room to get tape on his sore pinkie, and returned to throw some touchdowns.
If Geno wants to draw encouragement that this is just one day, and the outcome of whether he went at 10 pm last night or earlier in the evening tonight, he just needs to look at the history of quarterback picks. Here are the games started of quarterbacks drafted at certain spots.
The #1 overall picks blow everyone else out of the water. While there have been some reaches there as well, teams have done a pretty good job at identifying the elite quarterbacks. After that, the performance has been pretty flat from the others in the Top Ten through the early part of the second round. Where a quarterback goes after the first few picks largely depends on the whims of particular teams, the other prospects at the top of the draft, the number with quarterback needs to fill, and other factors. Teams haven’t been particularly great at differentiating among non-first overall prospects either.
That’s another way of saying that Todd Blackledge went ahead of Dan Marino once upon a time. So yeah, if no one wants Geno Smith by the first ten picks of tonight’s draft, that is an issue. That would mean that the teams with the biggest quarterback needs passed twice, and this time without elite prospects at other positions available. If he goes tonight in the first hour, though, we can move on to judging his body language in press conferences.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]