Dec 29, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith (12) warms up prior the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl against the Syracuse Orange at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

SI Mock 1.0: Geno Smith Goes Early, Austin Falls Out of First Round

Sports Illustrated released their 2013 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 this past week.

SI’s Don Banks projected that the Philadelphia Eagles, with the #4 pick in the NFL draft, will select West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. With Philadelphia bringing in a new head coach (Oregon’s Chip Kelly), Banks believes that Kelly will want to draft a young quarterback to execture his offense.

Here is Banks’ rationale for the selection:

This is where the real guess-work begins, because so much depends on whether new  Eagles coach Chip Kelly believes he currently has his starting quarterback on  the roster or not. Smith’s talents aren’t a perfect mesh for Kelly’s up-tempo  offense, but he’s got enough mobility to get the job done, and his  pocket-passing skills are NFL ready. We know quarterbacks get pushed up by need,  but the Eagles defense needs so much help that Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner  could be tough to pass on.

It is not a surprise that Geno Smith is the first quarterback to come off the board in the draft, but it is surprising to see the Eagles as the destination for the WVU star. This pick will depend in large part on Chip Kelly’s evaluation of Michael Vick and Nick Foles. If Kelly decides to give Foles a chance to prove himself or believes in a possible resurection of Vick’s career, then Smith will likely fall to the Arizona Cardinals at #7.

December 1, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin (1) on the field before playing the Kansas Jayhawks at Milan Puskar Stadium. The West Virginia Mountaineers won 59-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

What is a surprise for West Virginia fans is that Tavon Austin is not projected to get picked up in the first round.

Many outlets have paired Austin with the New England Patriots, but Banks has the Patriots going in a different direction. He believes that the Patriots will look to address their secondary issues by selecting Florida’s Matt Elam.

While it is understandable why the Patriots might look to go with a safety in the first round, I can’t help but think that Bill Belichick will want to take a long hard look at the most dynamic player available in this April’s draft.

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Tags: Geno Smith NFL Tavon Austin WVU WVU Football

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