Alex Smith gets mediocre marks in ESPN's QB rankings

NFL coaches and personnel types see the Chiefs' Alex Smith as a middle-of-the-road quarterback. AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- ESPN’s Mike Sando has his always-interesting Quarterback Tiers projectInsider out, and again it’s not very flattering for Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Sando talked to 35 NFL coaches and personnel types to fit every NFL starting quarterback into one of five tiers. Smith was rated in Tier 3, which Sando describes as including quarterbacks, in Sando’s words, “who are good enough to start but need lots of support, making it tougher to contend at the highest level."

Smith was also ranked 16th among the 32 starters, immediately behind Arizona’s Carson Palmer and ahead of Miami’s Ryan Tannehill.

That’s not so surprising or, from a Chiefs perspective, disappointing. The worst news in this regard is a comment from an anonymous coach whose thinking about Smith might be typical.

“At one time, I would have had Alex [in Tier] 2, but he has to be a 3 because of his arm talent," the coach said. “He has everything else, but his arm talent, his instincts to throw the ball with anticipation [are lacking]. I think it is a product of playing in so many systems. When he was young, I thought he had a chance."

Maybe Smith will improve this season and climb out of Tier 3. Maybe the addition of Jeremy Maclin, the continued development of Travis Kelce and having a healthy Jamaal Charles will boost Smith in next year’s rankings.

But from what we know now, Sando’s ranking sounds accurate.