It came as no surprise that Geno Smith impressed onlookers at West Virginia's Pro Day on March 14. And on Wednesday, aren't you expecting a similar performance from USC product Matt Barkley?
Smith reportedly completed 60 of his 64 attempts, but it is hard to get carried away with any passer's "stats" when they are throwing to their receivers and no defenders in sight. The 6'3", 218-pound Smith, who completed 71% of his passes last season in the West Virginia spread with 42 TDs against just six INTS, showcased his big arm and also took snaps under center.
"I saw what I needed to see. The kid ripped it," NFL Network Draft guru Mike Mayock said. "Most importantly, his footwork to me looked like it had been cleaned up. He slid, moved in the pocket and delivered the ball firmly and with authority. Most importantly the intermediate routes — 15 to 20 yards — deep out-breaking and deep in-breaking, boy he threw the ball as well as you could. I loved what I saw from Geno Smith."
The Jets own the No. 9 overall selection in April's and many pundits do not believe they are done adding competition to the QB position. David Garrard was acquired in free agency and Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy, Tim Tebow and Matt Simms all are on the roster. There are a bunch of teams ahead of the Jets — including Jacksonville (No. 2), Oakland (No. 3), Philadelphia (No. 4), Cleveland (No. 6), Arizona (No. 7) and Buffalo (No. 8) — that could go in the QB direction.
If Smith is still on the board at No. 9, that would be a fascinating decision for the Jets. The team has plenty of needs, but I am of the position you can never draft a QB too high if you believe he is the guy.
"Is he a Top 10 talent? Absolutely," Mayock said of Smith. "Is he going to go in the Top 10? I don't know yet. He still has concerns about taking too many sacks and some inconsistency in his accuracy."
Barkley, who would have most likely been a Top 10 selection if he had entered the draft last year, will get his chance to shine on March 27 in the Southern California sun. While there are questions about Barkley's arm strength and a senior season that featured six multi-interception games, the USC product is accurate, smart and displays good leadership ability. Over the past two seasons, Barkley threw 75 TDs against 22 INTs.
After separating his shoulder in USC's regular season finale against UCLA, Barkley has rehabbed for months and he will finally let the rock fly Wednesday. Most expect a strong performance. If that happens, how far will Barkley climb up teams' boards?
Sure there might not be an Andrew Luck or RGIII in this year's class, but there is more intrigue than ever.