Eugene Cyril Smith III was the thirty-ninth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Despite being touted by many as the best quarterback in an admittedly weak draft, Geno Smith was the second taken off the board and slid all the way down to the New York Jets second round pick. His strengths were his accuracy and decision-making skills, his weaknesses was a concern about his transition from a spread "Air Raid" offense to that of a pro-style one.
Smith is a known "film-junkie" that tends to arrive at the Florham Park practice facility at six in the morning and often stays until eight or nine at night. He's shown a considerable amount of development over the first nine games of the season, and has already led the team to a 5-4 record. Four of those wins have come on Smith-led game-winning drives, the most in such a time span by any rookie quarterback in NFL history. His rock-steady calm demeanor has led teammates to note that he never gets too excited over victories, and never too down over losses. Despite this, he remains a work in progress: The Human Genome Project.
Here are some notes on Smith, thus far into the season:
- Through nine games, Smith has had a quarterback rating of 71.0. This average has ranged anywhere from 27.6 in his first matchup against the New England Patriots to 147.7 against the Atlanta Falcons.
- Smith is most accurate 20+ yards down the right side of the field, where he has a 116 quarterback rating.
- Smith is least accurate 20+ yards down the left side of the field, where he has a 33.8 quarterback rating.
- However, he is most consistent 10-20 yards past the line of scrimmage, across the entire field, where he averages a 80.53 quarterback rating.
- When Smith is not under pressure, he has 67.1% completion, along with seven touchdowns and nine interceptions for a 84.7 quarterback rating.
- When Smith is under pressure, he has a 42.4% completion, along with one touchdown and four interceptions for a 46.9 quarterback rating.
- Notably, Smith is better when he is blitzed (79.6 quarterback rating) than when he is not blitzed (66 quarterback rating). In considering the previous numbers of how Smith performs under pressure, you may be confused. What this tells you that if the defense is getting pressure from their defensive front, Smith is in trouble. When the opposing team blitzes and Smith can identify/audible to another play, he has more success. This perhaps isn't quite surprising, as Smith called an audible on approximately 80% of all plays during his extremely successful career at West Virginia University.
- Smith has attempted the fifth highest percent of deep throws 20+ yards among all quarterbacks (that have played more than 50% of their team's snaps, which leaves out players such as E.J. Manuel), but is the fourth most accurate at that distance.
- Smith has the third most time to throw after Terrelle Pryor and Russell Wilson at 3.12 seconds on average.
- When Smith has 2.5 seconds or less to throw, he completes 64% of passes and has a 74.8 quarterback rating.
- When Smith has 2.6 seconds or more, he completes 54.1% of passes and has a 68.6 quarterback rating.
- By most statistical measures, including general accuracy, accuracy under pressure, play action, he is in the bottom third of quarterbacks. However, as noted, the 50% of plays threshold weeds out some of the weaker quarterbacks in the league.
With the exception of his game managerial role against the New Orleans Saints, Smith has shown signs of growth as he's been asked to do more and more each week. He's been asked to go vertical and to stretch the field with his legs. For the most part, he's being asked to put the team on his back, and the result so far has been a 5-4 record. As the team moves into the second half of the season, General Manager John Idzik must decide if Smith is the franchise quarterback the team needs to be successful, or if another player in the draft may be a better option.