Geno Smith received a lot of questions coming out of college for his mental toughness and ability to make a smooth transition from a college quarterback into one in the NFL. When he was drafted by the New York Jets in the second-round of the 2013 NFL Draft, media coverage on Smith only increased. He “won” the preseason quarterback battle with incumbent starter Mark Sanchez when Sanchez went to down with a season-ending shoulder injury in preseason.
Smith appeared to enter the 2013 season walking into a buzzsaw with one of the most laughable receiving corps in the league headlined by oft-injured receiver Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley and a few practice squad outcasts from other teams. On top of that, the Jets hired a new offensive coordinator in Marty Mornhinweg.
There is no doubt that Fantasy Football owners didn’t waste a draft pick on Smith, but there may have been a bold few who chose to gamble on Smith on given weeks in the 2013 season, probably with mixed results based on Smith’s inconsistent performances. At times, Smith looked cool and confident making great reads and smart decisions, and using his legs to get first downs when he needed to. Other times he looked lost, staring down receivers and forcing passes, ball security issues, losses of confidence.
Fast forward to 2014 and Smith’s outlook is a lot brighter. New York knows they need to revamp their receiving corps, either through free agency or the draft. Smith will be more comfortable in the pocket knowing he has receivers that can gain separation and hang on to the ball.
Fantasy owners may get nervous when looking at Smith in the 2014 Fantasy draft. A guy who finished the season with a 55-percent completion rating, 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions won’t excite any Fantasy owner. What was impressive for Smith is that he averaged 5.1 yards per carry and had six rushing touchdowns. Chances are Smith won’t be the turnover machine he was this year. He will be a better passer after having a full season to adjust to defenses and the speed of the NFL. Expect Smith to keep up with his impressive rushing statistics from this past year. Fantasy owners should be able to rest easy drafting him as a low-end QB-2 with upside, due to his rushing abilities. You never know, he could be a solid bye-week replacement for starting quarterbacks or even a cover if your starter gets injured. One thing is certain; “Broadway Geno” will shine bright in 2014.