Rough offseason for Geno Smith in terms of quarterback rankings.
A few weeks ago, an ESPN.com survey of 26 NFL insiders (coaches, executives, etc.) ranked Smith as the worst projected starting quarterback in the league. How EJ Manuel finished ahead of him, I'm not sure, but whatever. The latest ranking comes from ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, who, in his annual Big Board, rated Smith 30th out of 32 quarterbacks, ahead of Ryan Fitzpatrick (Houston Texans) and Matt Cassel (Minnesota Vikings). Smith certainly has more upside than a few of the players ranked above him, but, based on overall performance last season, I don't think Jaws' spot for Smith is too far off.
Despite the low ranking, Jaworski gave Smith a positive scouting report. Appearing on ESPN's "Mike & Mike" radio show on Monday morning, Jaworski said of Smith:
“After I went through the throws of Geno Smith last year, I saw a guy who got better every single week. The last quarter of the season, I thought Geno Smith looked like a much more polished NFL quarterback. And the people I am now speaking to in the Jets camp say that Geno Smith is clearly ahead of Michael Vick. So it looks like the improvement in Geno Smith -- the great job that [offensive coordinator] Marty Mornhinweg did with his development -- leads me to believe that he will be the starting quarterback Week One.”
Yes, Smith is clearly ahead of Vick. As Mornhinweg stated a few weeks ago, Smith will get about 70 to 75 percent of the first-team reps in training camp, which means he should nail down the starting job with a competent performance. If Smith starts losing reps to Michael Vick, we'll know the quarterback landscape is changing.