If you thought Jets rookie GM John Idzik was going to take it slow, maybe get his feet wet a little with some safe selections and obvious rosters moves… you’re sadly mistaken. After a first round where Idzik selected two defensive players (Dee Milliner at nine & Sheldon Richardson at thirteen), some criticized the move as having Rex’s fingerprints all over them. Well… you can take all that talk and run directly behind Brandon Moore with it, because with the thirty-ninth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected former West Virginia standout QB Geno Smith.
Geno Smith didn’t wait as long on day-two, after sitting in the Green Room at Radio City Music Hall, waiting and waiting and never hearing his name called on the first day of the draft. “It’s tough,” said Geno Smith about the long wait the day prior. Smith kept it simple after being selected, saying “it’s all about going to work!” His name was met with cheers from the crowd, some in celebration of a new beginning, and others in anticipation of Mark Sanchez’s departure. Ferguson restructures his deal early on Day 2, opening the door for Sanchez to be cut and the Jets to eat his sizable $8.25 million guaranteed contract. This story isn’t over by any means, as Greg McElroy, Tim Tebow and David Garrard are still on the roster. As of today, he joins a roster with five other QBs, three of whom have postseason victories under their belts… while Geno Smith has yet to take an NFL snap.
Five weeks into the college football season, Geno Smith was considered the runaway Heisman favorite and a lock as the top pick in the draft. Playing against the BIG 12 (with the Mountaineers moving from the BIG EAST), Smith was able to show his talents against some speedy defenses and teams that could put points on the board. A five-game losing streak ended any hope of Smith hoisting the Heisman, but the arm and his mobility were still evident.
In thirteen total games this season, Smith tallied 4,205 yards passing, 42 TDs & 6 INTs. In a seven day period, Smith traveled to Oklahoma State University and put up 364 yards passing and 2 TDs in a loss, then hosted the Oklahoma Sooners in a back-and-forth thriller! Smith and the Mountaineers lost that game 50-49, but he completed 20 passes for 320 yards and 4 TDs. He added 52 yards rushing, but would love to have those 2 INTs back. Smith may have had his best collegiate game in his team’s last victory of the season over Kansas, as he went 23 of 24 for 407 yards and 3 TDs (yes, that’s a 95.8 completion percentage).
John Idzik may have been in the room for other drafts during his career as an executive, but there will be no question as to who the man pulling the trigger in this draft is! When you pick a QB this early in the draft, it says something about the confidence you have in the ones on the current roster. Have the Jets turned the page on the Mark Sanchez era? Sal Paolantonio of ESPN said it best about a QB selected that high in the draft, “…he is the guy you are going to build around for the future.” Whether HC Rex Ryan’s job-security will be tied to the success of Geno Smith, only time (and Woody Johnson) can tell that; but new GM John Idzik just slid his chips into the middle of the table and put his name on the door of his office in Florham Park with his first selection of the second round!
-Joseph Haas Editor, HCoftheNYJ.com
(Check out my take on Idzik’s first round selections: CLICK HERE)
Join the conversation on Twitter @JerseyHaas or send me an e-mail JosephHaasNFL@Gmail.com. You can also find me at HaasStyleInterpretations.com commenting on some of today’s interesting topics in sports.