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NFL New York Jets

Grading Geno Smith: Is He The New York Jets’ Future Quarterback?

Joe Camporeale-USA Today Sports

There were a lot of questions swirling around rookie quarterback Geno Smith going into the 2013 NFL draft, especially after falling to the second round and being selected by the New York Jets. Could he be a franchise quarterback? Is he ready for the NFL? Can he be a leader?

There was a lot of doubt surrounding the former West Virginia star quarterback, and he was a star. In Smith’s first half of his senior season, the quarterback put up some video game-like stats, throwing for 2,274 yards, 25 touchdowns and zero interceptions, completing 75 percent of his passes. Ridiculous, right? Well, it was a different story in his last seven games – that’s when his focus and ability came into question. In his last seven games, Smith’s production decreased, throwing for 1,931 yards, 17 touchdowns and six interceptions, and his completion percentage dropped to 67 percent. Those weren’t terrible numbers, but it showed that he was inconsistent, and when his production went down, so did the team’s production.

Shortly after his season ended and he began his preparation for the draft, rumors started spreading about his lack of leadership and his lack of commitment and work ethic. That’s what led to him dropping to the second round.

Did the Jets get lucky when the quarterback fell to them in the second round?

Smith was a good quarterback coming out of college; he has a good arm and can throw very well on the run. He is not a “running quarterback,” but he demonstrated he can make plays with his legs. He had his ups-and-downs in college, but when he was on, he was capable of making all his throws including the deep ball, the seam routes and the sideline passes.

So, nine games through his rookie season, how has the Jets’ rookie quarterback fared?

In nine games, the rookie had his fair share of ups-and-downs. With Smith, it’s very Jekyll and Hyde, taking his team and their fans on a roller coaster ride, and because of Smith’s mistakes, the Jets are 5-4 — whether it be because of his version of the butt-fumble or his pick-sixes. But, at the same time, the reason why the Jets are 5-4 is because Smith was able to make some big plays, too.

Smith has thrown for 1,997 yards, completing 58 percent of his passes, accounting for 11 touchdowns — eight touchdowns through the air and three on the ground. The quarterback is also responsible for 16 turnovers, throwing 13 picks (a few of them returned for touchdowns), and fumbling three times. It’s evident that Smith has experienced some growing pains as a rookie, but let’s not forget he is just a rookie. He needs time to grow and get comfortable with the playbook.

The question is, however, how long will the Jets’ front office give him before their patience runs out?

Smith is safe as long as he keeps making plays and winning. Through nine games and with the Jets at 5-4, he’s been decent.

Grade: C

Jonathan Peralta covers the New York Jets and the NFL for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @itsJPeralta and add him on your Google network.