West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith spent the first half of the college football season being 2012's poster boy, racking up huge numbers and 25 touchdown passes before his first interception. He finished the season with 42 touchdowns and just six interceptions, though the Mountaineers fell to 7-6 after beginning the year 5-0.
Colleague Travis Haney took a look at the biggest storylines of the (endless) college football offseason, and Smith's NFL future cracked the list. Could he make himself the No. 1 pick over the next couple months before the draft in April?
There's always a premium on quarterback play, but as the NFL shifts to a league in love with passers, that's especially true. In a weak class of quarterbacks, Smith has a great shot to be the first one drafted. Could he convince the Kansas City Chiefs to pull the trigger and grab him with the first pick of the draft?
"How sick are the Chiefs of not having someone who can move and avoid sacks?" [ESPN draft analyst Kevin] Weidl said. "Looking at the film, I think he's the top guy. I feel comfortable saying that.
"I wouldn't be surprised if that happened. Why wouldn't you take him? Why would you take another offensive tackle?"
Haney spent last week at the coach's convention in Nashville, Tenn., and one coach even told him Smith was better than Brandon Weeden, who went late in the first round of last year's quarterback-heavy draft.
Haney notes that Smith isn't on Mel Kiper's Big Board, but might the Chiefs see Smith differently? Weeden and Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill weren't on Kiper's Big Board last year, either, but slid into the first round.
How high will Smith go? His workouts before the draft and the reactions of NFL teams will tell.