2013 NFL Draft: Bills Want Barkley, Where Does That Leave Geno?


September 29, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith (12) drops back to pass in the first quarter in the game against the Baylor Bears at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple outlets have reported today that the Buffalo Bills are apparently targeting former USC Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley, as high as the first round with the #8 pick.

The popular speculation over the past few weeks has centered around the Bills targeting former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib in the second round of the draft to reunite him with his former college coach Doug Marrone.

The latest reports that the Bills could go with Barkley at #8 begs the question: what does that mean for West Virginia star Geno Smith?

There are two ways to look at this news: 1) Geno Smith is rated lower on the Bills draft board than Barkley; or 2) the Bills expect Geno Smith to be taken prior to #8.

The first scenario, suggesting that Geno Smith would be rated lower than Matt Barkley is possible but rather unlikely. This quarterback class has been marginalized by every scouting outlet in the country, but 99% of these scouts agree that Geno Smith is the cream of the quarterback crop. If Geno is available at #8, the Bills would be drafting Barkley more for his experience running a pro-style offense than pure talent. That is the only way Barkley beats out Geno Smith on any draft board.

The second scenario is the more intriguing one for Mountaineers fans. We have heard repeatedly the past few weeks that the teams at the top of the draft, while all needing to find a young quarterback to build for the long-term future of their franchises, are likely to pass on selecting a quarterback until the second round. With Buffalo putting out the news that they like Barkley at #8, who is widely regarded as the second best quarterback prospect, suggests that Geno Smith would be going in the top seven picks. Of those seven teams, six need to find long-term quarterback solutions.

The Kansas City Chiefs will likely select a tackle at #1, but there are four teams with new GMs and/or coaches that could be looking to change their quarterback. Both the Jacksonville Jaguars at #2, the Philadelphia Eagles at #4, the Cleveland Browns at #6, and the Arizona Cardinals at #7 could all be suitors for Geno Smith. All four teams have subpar quarterbacks returning this season, quarterbacks brought in by a previous regime and not “the guy” for the current regime.

November 18, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) reacts after a play during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Of those four, the most likely option for Geno Smith would be the Jacksonville Jaguars. New owner, new coach, and new unbelievably hideous uniforms, why not add new quarterback to that mix?

Blaine Gabbert is just not working out. In two seasons in North Florida, he has completed a pedestrian 53.9% of his passes for 3,876 yards, 21 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, and 8 fumbles. Things have gotten so bad for Gabbert, that he could not hold onto the starting job against a washed up Chad Henne.

With all the changes this off-season, the Jaguars might as well go all the way and change the face of the franchise and draft Geno Smith at #2.

That is, they should draft Geno Smith if they do not want to risk possibly losing him (or Matt Barkley) to the Buffalo Bills at #8.