Geno Smith and Tavon Austin: Top 40 NFL Prospects

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November 3, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith (12) looks to pass against the TCU Horned Frogs during the fourth quarter at Milan Puskar Field. The TCU Horned Frogs won 39-38 in two overtimes. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Illustrated today released their first iteration of the 2013 NFL Draft Big Board.

The list, composed of the top 40 NFL prospects entering the 2013 NFL draft in April, featured two prominant Mountaineers alumni. Both quarterback Geno Smith and wide receiver/all-purpose talent Tavon Austin are listed amongst the best prospects in the country.

The Big Board is heavy on defensive talent, especially at the top of the list. 24 of the 40 prospects are on the defensive side of the football and 6 of the top 10 are defensive players.

Geno Smith ranks as the #15 overall prospect on the Sports Illustrated list. Geno is the top available quarterback and the only quarterback to appear on the Big Board. Other quarterbacks such as Mike Glennon of North Carolina State, Ryan Nassib of Syracuse, and Tyler Wilson of Arkansas have been on the rise lately, but are still unable to unseat Geno Smith as the top quarterback prospect.

That is not surprising given that Geno has been a consistent top flight quarterback for the past three seasons and set WVU records for career passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions, and attempts.

Smith is likely to be drafted higher than 15th. He has been linked in draft rumors to the Kansas City Chiefs at #1, Jacksonville Jaguars at #2, Arizona Cardinals at #7, and New York Jets at #9.

Some analysts will say that Smith is likely to slide to the bottom of the first round, citing his performance in the Pinstripe Bowl as an example of his inconsistency. While Geno might not have had a great outing in New York, he has been a consistent force for the Mountaineers the past three seasons and has one of the biggest arms in this draft class.

It will be hard for Geno to fall out of the top 10 of the draft and almost completely impossible that he would slide out of the first round. Expect the Cardinals to be the landing spot for Smith. They need a quarterback more than any other team in the league.

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