We are less than a week from the NFL Draft, also known as the most important day of the year for your Cleveland Browns. With (another) new regime taking over the reigns and new schemes in place on both sides of the ball, it is crucial that Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi, Ray Farmer, Rob Chudzinski and the crew nail these three days. It all starts Thursday night with the primetime First Round.
The Browns currently hold the sixth pick. Will they go with a defensive back? Could they turn to a pass rusher? Would they possible fortify the offensive line? Could they shock everyone and take an additional offensive weapon? Or maybe, just maybe, would they trade the pick to a team that wants to move up and snag one of those top offensive tackles?
From now until Thursday’s first round, a different member of the WFNY staff will take their look at one player in particular and tell you why the Browns, should they choose to, would go in this direction.
Name: Geno Smith
School: West Virginia
Weight: 218 lbs.
40-yard dash: 4.59 seconds
Whom he would replace:
Why he makes the most sense for the Browns:
Certain members of the new regime are on record stating that they felt the first-round selection of Weeden last spring was a mistake. Weeden, in 2012, had a season laced with rookie mistakes and sub-par efforts; he opened the season with a 5.0 passer rating in a should-have-been-won contest against the Philadelphia Eagles. While Weeden boasts a quality arm, his decision making is questionable at best. He often taps the ball with his off-hand and opts for the dump-off pass all too often. In 2012, batted pass attempts plagued the rookie, potentially signaling the inability to find windows against an NFL defensive line. Weeden‘s lack of mobility has forced him to sack himself on occasion, and that’s just downright embarrassing.
What the experts say about him:
“Draft slot still a relative mystery, just because there are trades that could come into play. So while some teams stand out, I can’t assure the range. Best traits are great accuracy, ball placement and good pocket maneuverability and underrated athleticism. What I question is whether you can draft him with the certainty that he’ll start and improve your QB situation immediately.” — Mel Kiper Jr
“I don’t have a true first-round grade on Smith, and I don’t feel great about slotting him anywhere in the top 10. But we all know the drill — quarterbacks will get bumped up the board come April 25, and Smith is likely to be the first quarterback off the board. … If he’s still on the board at No. 10, that’s when things would get interesting because there isn’t a team with a pressing need at QB until we circle back around in Round 2.” — Todd McShay
“Maintaining poise and patience vs rush in pocket, Smith does not panic when pressured. He has consistently shown a willingness to throw the ball away to avoid pressure and will not force passes into bad spots. Nimble and quick footed, Smith moves easily within the pocket to avoid pressure and can escape pocket when needed. Not only can Smith put the ball down and make big plays running with the ball, but he shows the body control and coordination to make accurate throws on the move even when he cannot re-set his feet. While Smith does not have rare arm strength, he definitely has a strong arm to make every NFL throw with ease. He has shown the ability to make the far-side 15 yard out throw with excellent zip without setting feet and striding into throw. Although his throwing motion is not pretty or consistent, he has consistently shown the quickness to get rid of the ball fast on quick hitting passes. Similar to Andrew Luck and RGIII, Smith is exceptionally smart with great intangibles/character and work ethic.” — Sports Illustrated
“Though Smith has had his ups and downs as a passer in West Virginia’s prolific spread offense, NFL general managers appreciate his ultra-competitive nature, athleticism, arm strength and quick delivery. The Mountaineer turned down a Senior Bowl invitation after regressing in the second half of the season following a strong start. Smith’s eye level and pocket movement can be great, but he reverted back to staring down his first read. During his sophomore season, Smith played in an offense where he frequently took snaps from center, so he might have a leg up compared to some other prospects in that regard.” — NFL.com
Chances the Browns will take Geno Smith:
I believe the Browns are considering Smith, but this is rooted more in their lack of faith in Weeden than it does the player’s ability to take them to the promised land. There are rumors that Smith could be had if the team were to trade down, but there is now growing sentiment that the Jacksonville Jaguars or Philadelphia Eagles could be considering Smith at No. 2 or No. 4, respectively. Coupling all of this together with the fact that the team has glaring weaknesses on the defensive end, I will say that there is a 10 percent chance the Browns leave Day 1 of the draft with Geno Smith as their first-round selection.