Geno Smith has a lot of talent to work with for the NFL level. He has a strong arm and does a good job throwing from the pocket. His work ethic is excellent and when Geno is in rhythm throwing the ball down the field, he is as dangerous and accurate as any quarterback coming out in the draft in recent years. He shows solid accuracy and velocity when throwing deep down the field. Geno has the size needed to play the quarterback position at the next level. There is no doubt that Geno has the developmental potential to be an excellent player for the team that drafts him.
There are a ton of concerns for me with Geno's overall game. His mechanics are erratic, but that is not unusual for a QB coming out of college. He is always in the shotgun, so proving to scouts and coaches at the NFL level that he can pass in rhythm and accurately under duress from 3-step, 5-step and 7-steps drops is a big concern. In the film I've reviewed, Geno does not throw well on the run, does not move well in the pocket and does not show the ability to extend plays. He is not confident in his own ability to lead when he struggles throwing the ball. Geno doesn't read defenses very well at all, which is a big problem. His football intelligence at this point of his career is not as mature as you would like to see when coming out in a draft. The only type of offensive system I see him being successful in is a play action vertical game with plenty of protection. All of these issues can be overcome with a good work ethic which Geno seems to have in abundance. The real question mark is his leadership skill. He must learn to accept his own limitations and turn the page after interceptions, blown assignments and adversity during a game have occurred. Geno has a long way to go to bring his overall game up to the NFL level, but he definitely does have the talent and work ethic.
Football intelligence has to do with making decisions and bringing what you are taught in practice and the film room to the field during a game as well as performing well under adversity. Currently, Geno lacks that more than anything else, which doesn't mean that Geno is not smart or lacks a good work ethic. It just means that Geno lacks a football maturity right now that he needs to be successful at the next level. When things are going well, this, of course, is not a problem. However, as soon as he doesn't see what he saw in the film room while playing on the field, Geno panics emotionally. Some of this is because Geno is a young QB and some of this is his make-up in general. He will struggle to overcome these feelings of panic on the field until he gets the needed repetitions. Geno reminds me a lot of Charlie Batch with a stronger arm. You can see the talent when Geno plays and you will marvel at the games on film that he has dominated, but when he struggles, Geno really struggles and never seems to be able to get himself back on track until the game is out of reach. He struggles to go quickly to his check downs because he seems to be looking for the big play on every play. This is because he struggles to read defenses. He is not accurate when throwing to his check downs because he knows in most cases he is too late. If Geno is drafted too high and is not allowed to sit and learn and mature, I'm not sure his excellent work ethic will be enough to overcome the pressure of carrying a team as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Geno can be an excellent back-up quarterback with the potential to win 2 out of 4 games when your starting QB is out. In the future, he has the potential to be a starting QB in the right system for the team that drafts him. I think teams with a transient coaching situation would be taking a big chance drafting Geno as a future franchise QB. Teams that have a solid coaching staff and do not need to put Geno on the field right away would be a better fit for Geno to give him a better chance at a longer career. In the offensive system that the 49er's are using, I can see Geno being very effective. He works well from the shotgun and a spread offense would seem to fit him well, but his lack of football ability to read defenses and lack of decision making skills would be a big problem for him at the next level in that type of system. In short, he is a senior who is not ready for the NFL, but does have a bright future there.
Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart