Eagles Wake-Up Call: What They’re Saying About Geno Smith

We’ve written about several different draft prospects in this space in the last few weeks.

And the one name that seems to be the most polarizing is Geno Smith.

The West Virginia quarterback is expected to go in the first half of the first round, but opinions vary on whether he has the tools to become a franchise quarterback.

Keeping that in mind, here’s a roundup of what people are saying about Smith.

Let’s start with Greg Cosell of NFL Films, via The Shutdown Corner podcast:

“There’s no question that he has an NFL arm. The ball comes out with good velocity and juice. His short to intermediate throws are very, very good. The one thing that troubles me about Smith, and it’s theoretically coachable, is that he’s primarily a shotgun quarterback, which in and of itself is not an issue. But he has a tendency to bounce on his drops — he does not actually drop. And that must be cleaned up. Because the problem when you do that is you’re not truly ready to throw the ball, and a major difference between college and the NFL is the response time of defensive backs. If you’re not ready to throw, and you wait that extra beat while you get your feet set, you’ll have an issue.”

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock seems to think consistency is Smith’s issue:

“I watched a bunch of Geno Smith and he can make every throw. He’s athletic. The ball jumps out of his hand. But there’s a lot of things that make me nervous about him. He misses people by wide margins for no reason. I see a little bit of hesitancy with the blitz. When that first read is not there, it’s not as pretty on the second or third read. His eyes come down. He makes mistakes.”

Ray Didinger of CSNPhilly.com offers his scouting report:

Smith has excellent size (6-3, 220) and a strong arm — probably the strongest arm of this year’s QB class. He still needs to smooth out his fundamentals, in particular his footwork which is choppy and inconsistent. That affects his accuracy. But because so many teams need a quarterback and because they are in such short supply, I believe Smith, aided by a strong showing at the combine, will be a top-12 pick.

Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel talked to anonymous scouts about Smith:

“He’d be the only (quarterback) I’d consider,” one scout said. “He’s really poised. Really good vision. He’s not one of those system guys who just chucks it to the first guy. He can see the field and read defenses. He’s athletic. He’s gotten a lot better, too, and should get a lot better in the pros.” Another scout compared him to Akili Smith, a draft bust from 1999. “That will end the conversation,” that scout said.

Gil Brandt of NFL.com expects Smith to be able to work through his inconsistencies:

More time will be spent on Smith than on any other player in the 2013 NFL Draft. When I watched him from the sideline during West Virginia’s game against Texas, Smith was quick and on the money, though he did overthrow some long balls. If he enters the league with a Russell Wilson-type work ethic, Smith will be OK.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com already sees offseason improvement from Smith:

I watched a few more of his games in the last two days, and I was disappointed in his footwork. I didn’t see any of those same issues during Sunday’s [Combine] session. It’s obvious he has worked hard to correct his flaws in this area.

WHAT YOU MISSED

A look at how league-wide use of the franchise tag affects the Eagles.

Who are the Eagles’ safety options in free agency? Here are some names to know.

The people at Lehigh are waiting to hear from the Eagles about training camp, T-Mac reports.

Some new names appear in the latest mock draft roundup.

Tim takes a look at Chip Kelly and the tight end position.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Sean McCormick of Football Outsiders says the Eagles’ biggest offseason need is cornerback:

The Eagles finished the season with the worst pass defense DVOA in the NFL, a feat that barely seems possible considering the talent the front office assembled by trading for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and signing Nnamdi Asomugha just two seasons ago. As recently as August, the Eagles were essentially willing to give away a Pro Bowl cornerback, sending Asante Samuel packing to Atlanta for a seventh-round pick. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo’s inability to figure out how to utilize Asomugha cost him his job midway through the season, and successor Todd Bowles’ spectacular flameout — Philadelphia’s pass defense DVOA was a pedestrian 9.0% through the first eight games and a jaw-dropping 44.5% the rest of the way — put the finishing touches on Andy Reid’s tenure. (Defensive DVOA, like yards or points allowed, is worse the higher it goes, so that means we estimate the Eagles were more than 44 percent worse than an average pass defense over their last eight games. If they had been that bad all year, it would have been the worst pass defense since at least 1991.)

Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com takes a look at the Eagles’ draft history:

The Eagles have had 20 first-round picks since 1991 and 16 of them have gone toward drafting a linemen. Those 20 picks have turned into nine defensive linemen, seven offensive linemen, two receivers, one corner and one quarterback. Of the nine defensive linemen, only Corey Simon made a Pro Bowl, although three of the seven offensive linemen did [Jermane Mayberry, Tra Thomas, Shawn Andrews], along with the corner [Lito Sheppard] and the quarterback [Donovan McNabb]. The Eagles have never drafted a defensive end in the first round who’s gone to a Pro Bowl.

COMING UP

More free agency and draft chatter.

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