I know you've read all this before, and from far better writers than me. In fact, this is basically an extended comment, I came across a comment on Geno, questioning his maturity, pointing out the way he handled the slide down the draft on national TV, and the subsequent firing of his agents, a huge red flag. Other concerns were the disappearance at West Virginia University in the second half of last season, ultimately his general lack of maturity. All of this leads to the fact that we have a disaster awaiting us, and the Jets are doomed for the rest of eternity (I may be paraphrasing slightly at this point).
So, naturally, I started writing a reply. In my typical long winded, overly verbose fashion, this reply soon spiralled out of control. It's far too easy to type words out quickly, we should be forced to write replies out on paper. Choosing not to subject everyone to a 500+ word comment, I've copied over my anti-anti-Geno rant to a fanpost instead.
Oh and one more thing, forget that rant bit, that's not what this is. I respect the views of those who aren't as optimistic, you certainly have the right to be. It's not been easy these last couple of years, and even during the AFC championship runs this team played heart attack football, probably cutting short all our lives and making the 2010 San Francisco (something or another, some not very interesting sports team nickname) baseball team version of torture look like a series of blowout wins. The further back you go as a fan, the more disappointment you've had from these Jets. So yes, pessimism is completely understandable. However, don't let the media's portrayal of Geno shape your thinking. At least, not yet, not when there is no basis to the incredibly biased reporting we are all being forced to suffer though.
Let us start with the draft and the way he handled his fall on national TV. All he did was sit there, with a camera zoomed up against his face, looking bored and somewhat bemused. It was very similar to how Aaron Rodgers looked when he slid. That shouldn't imply anything negative about his character though, at least so far as how it shapes his ability to play quarterback. I'd rather have a QB who thinks he should be first overall ahead of Andrew Luck than one who figures, "Hey, guess what, I know I'll get picked at some point". Why should we expect someone we need to be hyper-competitive to be happy as he watched himself slide down a draft board, watching players he surely must have thought would have less of an impact on the game than him, the top prospect at the most important position on the field. Not least when he wasn't even the first quarterback taken.
He's entitled to fire his agents, if for any reason he didn't think his agents did a good enough job. So what if he did? All we heard about him were negatives heading into the draft. The agents jobs surely include getting some positive publicity out to counter that, and I personally am not certain they did enough. Clearly Geno felt the same way. If he wasn't happy with them before the draft, he probably wouldn't have fired them at that point, for the same reason Idzik didn't fire our scouts leading into the draft, it simply was too close to the big event, and new people however skilled would not have been able to do the preparatory work needed to even match the performance of the existing group. That doesn't make this a reactionary move at all. It's just being portrayed as such by our friendly media.
Next up, the disappearing act at WVU. Only that seems an incredible overreaction to a losing spell which was heavily assisted by a defence that basically wasn't playing any. Yeah, his completion percentage came down from 80+% to 70+%. If a starting pitcher has an ERA under 1 through mid May, but ends up with an ERA of 2.50, that doesn't mean he disappeared the rest of the year, it just means his stats normalised to what remained elite level. Smith's overall numbers were great, and everything I have seen and read leads me to see him as an incredibly promising QB. He isn't Luck, but then Luck, Manning and Elway were in their own league as prospects. One of the three most polished college QB's in at least the last 4 decades came out last year, we can't compare Geno to him. Geno is plenty promising by any normal standard. I am struggling to see how he is so much less valued that Bradford was, or even Stafford. Or Matt Ryan as a college prospect. Also, I have no idea how Mark Sanchez was an obvious top-5 pick based on his body of work, but never mind that now, I can't in any way discuss that in an unbiased way.
So what does that leave us with. Geno needing to mature? He seemed mature enough to go through progressions, make the right read, change plays at the line, respond to what the defense threw at him. All we should care about is Geno's ability to do what is expected of an NFL QB, and that's make reads, direct plays, go through progressions, throw with accuracy, avoid interceptions, and scramble to buy time to throw (increasingly a necessary skill as push rush in the NFL improves). My one concern is the fumbles, that's pretty much it at this point. Even the deep pass I've seen him heave a few with a fair amount of accuracy. So I'm looking at a QB that does pretty much everything an NFL QB needs to, and does it well. Except he has shown a tendency to fumble the ball.
One flaw, and we got him at #39? In a league where Christian Ponder, Blane Gabbert, 28 year old Brandon Weeden and (yes) EJ Manuel are first rounders? Tannehill is an #8 overall pick? Jimmy Clausen is a high second rounder? We get this guy at #39, and we're not doing jumping jacks?
Oh, on the topic of maturity, I leave you with one of the best QB's in the history of the game throwing a huge hissy fit. Included at least partially for comic value.