The 2013 NFL Draft has perhaps the best set of pure passers as a group in the history of the NFL.
From Geno Smith and the fast-rising EJ Manuel, to USC’s Matt Barkley, and all player points in between, there’s not one quarterback in the group that’s not adept at reading defenses and finding the open receiver. All of the quarterbacks have attended some kind of passing school or elite QB program. And the vast majority have played in offensive systems that call for them to make defensive reads before throwing. And some, like Geno Smith, played in systems that are arguably more advanced than their NFL counterparts.
So with all of this, what’s the problem?
The problem is with the NFL Draft evaluators. People who come up with the smallest, dumbest reasons not to value a player, and then manage to convince others to agree to repeat those reasons. This blogger will not name names, as that’s not the point of this post; rather, the call is for a more logical and numerically-based system of judgment that survives prejudice and lasts over multiple years.
Do we have such a system? Yes. It’s the passing statistics for the quarterback. And from that perspective you have to rank Geno Smith as number one. He has more yards passing in college (over 11,000) for more touchdowns and fewer interceptions than Matt Stafford, who was drafted #1 by the Detroit Lions in 2009, or Cam Newton, who was draft #1 by the Carolina Panthers and played just one glorious year at Auburn. Geno Smith even has more passing yards in college at West Virginia than Andrew Luck has in total yards from scrimmage at Stanford.
With all that, Geno Smith should be what he was for a time last year: the best player to come out of college and on to the NFL Draft. What happened was that one bad game against Kansas, threw his first interception since the year before, 2011, and for that, he was taken off the bandwagon.
Geno Smith can’t get no respect.
Indeed, how unfairly he’s been evaluated is the bellweather example for what’s wrong with NFL Draft scouting in the 21st Century: too many people not willing to stick to a numerically-based formula of evaluating and instead give you giberish about Smith’s lack of motivation.
A quarterback who’s not motivated doesn’t start, let alone play as well as Geno Smith has. Indeed, you can’t do well in the Airraid Offense and not be motivated.