There are over two months until this year’s NFL Draft. One thing that is becoming very apparent is that this year won’t be like last year. At this point a year ago, the No. 1 pick was already solidified — Andrew Luck to the Colts was just a formality. This year, there are a number of different players that could go first overall to the Chiefs. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is one of the players that the Chiefs should strongly consider No. 1 overall. The roster itself had six Pro Bowlers last season but the two things that held K.C. back were head coach and quarterback.
With Andy Reid now running the show in Kansas City, the next step is finding a quarterback to solidify the most important position in the NFL. Smith is not Luck and he is not Robert Griffin III, but he has the tools to be the team’s quarterback of the future and until the Chiefs find their answer at the most important position in the NFL, they will continue to reside in the basement of the weak AFC West. Geno Smith joined KCSP in Kansas City with Danny and Carrington to talk about why he decided to throw at the scouting combine, whether he would like to shut up the doubters, if he considers himself the top quarterback in the class, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. saying no quarterback should be in consideration with the No. 1 pick and whether he believe he can make an impact right away in the NFL.
Why he decided to throw at the combine:
“Honestly just a matter of me going out and competing, being able to show scouts and coaches what I can do. Obviously it’s in shorts and just a little bit of who I am as a player, but still good to allow them to see me throw in live action against other quarterbacks, and they will be able to kind of compare me based on them and vice versa. It’s good to be out there and compete and showcase my talents.”
Most of the top quarterbacks have decided against throwing the past, why did you decide to do it?
“Obviously I’ve been aware of that and it’s just one of those decisions, one situation, where I wanted to go and pretty much solidify that and shut everyone up but my agent, coaches and people close to me held me back on that. They can’t really hold me back from going out and throwing; that’s one of my strong suits and I believe that you do well when the lights are on and the combine is a perfect opportunity for me to go out there and showcase my talents. I’m aware that other quarterbacks may not have thrown but those are their decisions. It’s not to say that they are not competitors themselves, but it’s just something that they came to the conclusion of — with their team of agents and people close to them. In my case, I made this decision and I told everyone that I’m tired of this speculation and I’m ready to go out there and try to end all of that.”
You mean shutting up the people that questioned your decision to not play at the Senior Bowl?
“Not so much the people that questioned why I didn’t play, because obviously they don’t have all the facts, but it’s just I think I kind of get the reputation — I don’t know why but I hear about people saying it’s a weak quarterback class, which is something that I don’t believe in because every quarterback is going to have to make a transition into the NFL one way or another. That’s all based on the individual. People saying it’s a weak quarterback class or Geno Smith is hiding or he’s not a competitor, whatever questions there may be out there about me. I’m just going to do my best to go out there and showcase who I am because I have full confidence in my ability on and off the field, so why not do it at the combine?”
Do you consider yourself the top quarterback in the class?
“Yes I do. That’s no disrespect to anyone, but I consider myself one of the best at what I do. You talk about this class and there are some great guys out there, but my goal is to always separate myself from the rest of the group and my goal is to be the best wherever I am. Once I go to the next level I’m going to compete, going to work, and my goal is going to be to be the best in the NFL. I just want to make sure people know that I have a goal, I have ambitions and I’m going to work until I get there. I’m not a guy who is cocky or over the top with it, I’m a very humble guy, quiet and I keep to myself, but when it comes down to football, this is something that I love to do and quite honestly I want to be the best at it.”
On Mel Kiper Jr.’s comments that no quarterback should be considered with the first overall pick:
“I don’t know what they’re missing. That hurts to hear that because of the work that I’ve put in, but they evaluate and they do their scouting reports just as anyone else does, a fan of the game does. Quite honestly that makes no difference as to what my career will be. Aaron Rodgers was picked later on in the draft; Tom Brady went in the seventh round. If anyone had any type of perfect formula then obviously those guys would have went higher and that’s what it comes down to. My goal is to be picked No. 1 overall but at the same time, wherever I get picked I’m going to come in with the same mentality, same goals in mind, so I’m not really worried about what anyone says because everyone has an opinion. I respect that. When I hear him say that it’s kind of a bit of added motivation for me because of how competitive I am, but it doesn’t really mean anything at all.”
Do you think you can make an impact right away?
“I believe that I can make an impact. I’m not going to say that there are not going to be times where I take my lumps, physically and mentally, because that happens with everyone. So I’m not going to sit here and be naive and say that I will come right in and shake up the game, but at the same time I want to come in, be productive and help my team get wins and that’s what it’s all about. I’m a smart decision-maker and I understand that the game is about taking care of the ball and I try my best not to put my team in bad situations. I manage field position, I manage down and distance and manage each and every play because that is the job of a quarterback. That’s what I have to do first and foremost. When it comes to practice I’m going to compete every day, whether I’m the starter or not, and let the coaches make the decisions. And when I get my opportunity to play, I’m going to give it my all and do the things that I’ve been doing my entire career which is put us in a good position to win games at the end.”