Geno Smith drafted by Jets, who look ready to end Mark Sanchez era
After passing on a quarterback twice during Day 1 of the 2013 NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected Geno Smith with the seventh pick of Round 2, perhaps putting a nail in the coffin of Mark Sanchez’s time as a QB in New York.
Smith’s precipitous drop down draft boards was arguably the big story of Round 1 — TV cameras frequently cut to him, sitting dejectedly in the green room at Radio City Music Hall, as team after team opted not to take him. The West Virginia quarterback returned to the festivities Friday, though, despite the possibility he could plummet again.
He was rewarded for that move, though it’s unclear exactly what sort of situation he’ll enter in New York.
Inevitably, Sanchez’s Big Apple storyline was going to reach the end of the road in the near future. Despite handing Sanchez a five-year, $58.25 million contract last March (with $20.5 million guaranteed), the Jets appeared ready to eat that money if the right situation arose. They also reportedly tried to tack Sanchez and his massive contract onto a trade that sent Darrelle Revis to Tampa Bay; the Buccaneers balked at that idea.
So, for the time being, Sanchez still sits on the Jets’ payroll — along with Tim Tebow, David Garrard, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms.
Smith, at the very least, figures to be given a chance to compete with Sanchez, Garrard and possibly McElroy for the starting job next season. More realistically, however, the Jets will again turn their attention toward cutting Sanchez loose, with the new plan being to turn the offense over to Smith.
Is Smith ready for that gig, especially under the bright lights of New York? His early success could be dependent on what the Jets do from here to add offensive talent and how far from the old “Ground and Pound” the coaching staff varies. Smith, of course, excelled in a wide-open spread offense at West Virginia — a far cry from what the Jets have rolled out in recent seasons.
New York used its two first-round picks on the other side of the football, nabbing cornerback Dee Milliner and DT Sheldon Richardson. While those selections played into Rex Ryan’s M.O., they certainly did nothing to upgrade an offense shy on skill-position talent.
The hope in using a high draft choice on a QB is he’ll make the talent around him better. But we’ll have to wait to see if Smith even gets that shot out of the gate, not to mention what his immediate future will mean for Sanchez.