Where will Geno Smith start his NFL career?
That’s the question draftniks have kicked around since Joe Flacco posed with Mickey Mouse. The West Virginia standout is likely to be the first quarterback off the board, but which team selects him is anybody’s guess.
In 2012, the draft brought little drama. As expected, the Colts selected Andrew Luck first overall followed by the Redskins taking Heisman winner Robert Griffin III.
Unlike last year’s class, this QB crop lacks superstars, but has considerable depth. With that said, we’ll take our guesses on where the top three QBs in the 2013 class will land on draft day.
Geno Smith, Cleveland Browns
College: West Virginia
Pick: 6th overall
Look for the Browns to nab Smith if the Raiders pass on him. Cleveland has been the laughingstock of the NFL since LeBron James was in high school, but that could change with the right quarterback. Seriously. We’re not kidding. The Browns have franchise cornerstones in RB Trent Richardson, CB Joe Haden and LT Joe Thomas. With the Ravens and Steelers in rebuilding mode, the Browns could be poised to take the AFC North title.
Cleveland’s weak link is quarterback Brandon Weeden. In the year of the rookie quarterback, Weeden posted pedestrian numbers of 14 TDs and 17 INTs in 15 games. Sure, first-year GM Michael Lombardi could take a chance that the 29-year old Weeden develops into a passable starter, but that certainly didn’t work out with Colt McCoy.
The Browns have an opportunity to make some noise this season. Don’t expect them to pass it up.
Matt Barkley, Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: 33rd overall
After two seasons of underwhelming results, Blaine Gabbert has shown he’s not the quarterback of the future in Jacksonville. The question becomes whether the Jags like Geno Smith enough to draft him second overall. Not likely. Jaguars brass should choose an elite pass rusher like Ezekiel Ansah instead of rolling the dice on another QB.
Look for the Jags to snag Matt Barkley early in the 2nd round and give the former top-prospect a chance to compete for the starting job in training camp.
Ryan Nassib, Buffalo Bills
Pick: 41st overall
Ryan Nassib is climbing draft boards and could leapfrog Matt Barkley before the dust settles. Despite the Bills’ recent addition of Kevin Kolb, Buffalo is the best landing spot for Nassib, who has a strong but inaccurate arm.
The three-year starter is a work in progress whose skills need refinement with time served as a backup. Since Buffalo isn’t in a position to win this season, the Bills can afford to use a high draft pick on a quarterback prospect. In addition, Buffalo’s head coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett coached Nassib at Syracuse. The pick just makes sense.
Not even Mel Kiper Jr. knows where these guys will go but that’s the fun of the NFL Draft.
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