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Friday, April 26, 2013
Second round: QB Geno Smith

By Rich Cimini

PICK: Second round (seventh in round, 39th overall)

PLAYER: Geno Smith

SCHOOL: West Virginia

POSITION: Quarterback

HEIGHT: 6-foot-2⅜

WEIGHT: 218 pounds

What it means: There's a new quarterback in town, casting immediate doubt on Mark Sanchez's future. This is a game-changer, with GM John Idzik putting his stamp on the organization. When a team picks a quarterback at the top of the second round, the expectation is that he will start. In the Jets' case, it's probably sooner than later. Smith is a polarizing prospect. Once considered a top-five pick, he experienced one of the most publicized -- and embarrassing -- falls in draft history.

Smith has a strong arm and outstanding mobility (he clocked the best 40-yard dash time for QBs at the combine, 4.56 seconds). He has the tools to be a franchise player, but there are inconsistencies in his game. He displayed shaky pocket presence, struggled down the stretch last season and played poorly in cold weather. He was horrible against Syracuse in a snowy Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. There's a lot to like about Smith, including a 42-6 touchdown-interception ratio last season.

Some believe he was a product of West Virginia's spread system. He threw 177 of his 518 passes at or behind the line of scrimmage in 2012, including 112 screen passes. As a result, Smith’s average pass traveled 7.7 yards past the line, the fewest yards per attempt of any top QB prospect, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That contributed to his unusually high completion percentage, 71.6. Smith fumbled 32 times in his career, perhaps because he has small hands (9¼ inches).

How he fits the offensive scheme: This will be a dramatic change for Smith, who must learn Marty Mornhinweg's version of the West Coast offense. Does Smith have the accuracy to thrive in the scheme? Can he read defenses well enough to handle a system predicated on quick progressions? There are major questions about Smith's game, and now he'll have to perform amid the wackiness of the Jets' quarterback circus.

Projected impact: It'll be fascinating to see how Idzik & Co. handle this situation. This could be a mess if not handled properly. A Sanchez-Smith dynamic could be awkward and tense. Smith isn't ready to take over a team in Week 1, but it would be distraction to keep Sanchez around. Leave it to the Jets to keep the circus in town. Oh, and what becomes of Tim Tebow?