WVU Football: NFL Combine Is Geno Smith’s Chance To Lock Up Top Spot


Feb 22, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend will decide Geno Smith’s NFL future. The Mountaineer gunslinger will get to flex his might in front of NFL scouts this week in Indianapolis. The performance he puts out at the NFL Combine will determine whether Smith ends up as a top 10 draft pick or a second day selection in this April’s NFL Draft.

Entering the NFL combine, Geno is widely regarded as the top quarterback prospect along with Matt Barkley of USC. Smith will be throwing at the combine while Barkely will not, giving Geno the upperhand this weekend. With a strong showing, Smith will be able to secure the top quarterback slot.

Even if Geno locks up the title of top quarterback, there is no guarantee that he will be selected in the top half of the first round. Many draft pundits such as Mel Kiper Jr. have touted this as a weak quarterback class, forecasting that a quarterback will not be selected until the late first round to early second round.

That all could change with a strong outing at the combine. Scouts will be looking to see the arm strength of Smith and accuracy of his throws on various routes, but more than anything, scouts will be anxious to see how he handles taking snaps from under center.

Geno did take snaps under center during his sophomore season under coach Bill Stewart prior to becoming a shotgun air raid quarterback under coach Dana Holgorsen. There is no doubt that Geno excels from the shotgun and pistol, but with such a small sample size for scouts to judge his ability to operate from a more traditional set, scouts will be watching his every mechanic under center.

December 1, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith (12) sits on a football before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Milan Puskar Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

If Geno can dazzle the scouts from under center, there is no reason to believe that he will not be a high first round pick. Teams like the Cardinals and Bills will be the most likely suitors at the top of the first round for Smith. Both teams are anticipated to dump their quarterbacks and find their new starter in the draft. Neither team can afford to pass on a franchise quarterback and allow another team to scoop Smith up in the late first round.

On the other side of the coin, should Geno falter at the combine, he could easily slide down the quarterback list and wind up as a 2-3rd round pick. Even a minor misstep in his workout from under center could cause Geno to slide out of the first round.

Mountaineer fans will be glued to their televisions on Sunday as Geno Smith decides his NFL fate on the field turf of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.