- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Former West Virginia QB Geno Smith, who dined with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and two scouts on the eve of his pro day last month, said Wednesday the Jets are showing "a level of interest" in him.
Smith was one of 30 players that took official visits to the Jets. He met with Rex Ryan and quarterbacks coach David Lee, calling it a "great visit." Smith, one of 24 prospects at a pre-draft event in Manhattan, did a good job of selling himself to the New York media. He made a Joe Namath reference, always good for a sound bite in these parts.
Perhaps the most scrutinized player in the draft, Smith said he has the mental toughness to survive the New York pressure cooker.
"You can look at it as a negative or you can look at it as a positive," he said of the attention. "New York is a great place to market, a great city once you start winning games here and get things rolling. Look at Eli (Manning), even Broadway Joe. He's still a legend around here ... No. 12."
The Jets, who own the ninth and 13th picks in the first round, were "raving" about Smith after their pro-day visit, according to a source. They also like Syracuse's Ryan Nassib, but the buzz around the league is that GM John Idzik won't take a quarterback in Round 1. Maybe you've heard, this isn't a great draft for quarterbacks. The Class of '13 has absorbed more dings than a New York taxi.
"It doesn't bother me," Smith said. "I obviously want to prove them wrong. I don't think I'm any less than anyone else. Obviously, Russell (Wilson), RG (Robert Griffin III) and Andrew (Luck) did a great job of setting the bar high for us. We've got to come and respond. We've got really good guys in this class."
Smith is a wild card. He could go as high as third (Raiders) or as low as ... well, some believe he could slip to the bottom of the first round.
On Tuesday, Smith made news with his Tweet: "Just want to thank all those so called 'experts' who say I can't be an NFL QB. Thursday will be a special day but the work has only begun."
Smith explained his motivation for the Tweet.
"I just wanted to put it out there, letting them know all the doubting ... yeah, I've heard it," he said. "Some true, some not true. We'll see once I get drafted and go into the NFL."