With speculation swirling that the Jets are considering a move up in the second round to take West Virginia quarterback Gene Smith, we offer a snippet from Smith himself about his visit with the Jets and how things went with the team that might end up drafting him.
Smith visited with the Jets April 10-11 at the team’s Florham Park, N.J. facility, and said he came away impressed with the training complex and the coaching staff.
“They have a great operation, really liked the facility,” Smith said Wednesday, the day before the draft. The Mountaineers quarterback wound up being passed over in the first round, but is reportedly drawing interest from the Jets, who would likely have to move up to Jacksonville's top spot in the second round to take him. “Rex [Ryan], [quarterbacks coach David] Lee and [offensive coordinator Marty] Mornhinweg, all those guys are great guys. I enjoyed the time spent with them. We talked a lot of ball, and I was able to get some work in the playbook and be able to regurgitate it and see how much of the process I could spit back to them.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported today the Jets considered drafting Smith with the 13th overall pick – they wound up taking Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson instead. Schefter also said the Jets might make a move up to Jacksonville’s first pick in the second round – 33rd overall.
We’ll find out shortly after 6:30 p.m. when Day 2 of the draft commences. Rounds 2-3 will be conducted tonight at Radio City Music Hall.
Like most teams who host draft-eligible quarterbacks, the Jets showed Smith a portion of their playbook, explained the formations, and then had him recite the plays afterward, using a grease board to diagram the plays.
“They want to see how much you know,” Smith said. “They want to see how well you were coached, what you did with your offense, what you were allowed to do, because there are a number of things you’ll be asked to do at this level.”
How did he handle the challenges from the Jets’ coaching staff?
“I did a good job, and they were impressed,” Smith said. “We’ll see what happens on draft day.”
Little did Smith know that draft day would mean Day 2. He and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o both were passed over in the first round and are now expected to be taken tonight. With fellow quarterbacks Matt Barkley, Mike Glennon and Ryan Nassib also not taken in the first round, there could be an early run of quarterbacks.
But Smith insisted before the draft that he would understand if he dropped.
“Whether I get drafted early or high is not really a big deal to me,” Smith said. “I’ve worked hard and I’ve done everything I can possibly do up to this point. Wherever I go, I’m going to go into it with the same mentality. Some of the best have sat in that green room [and not been selected early], like Aaron Rodgers [of the Packers]. [Patriots quarterback] Tom Brady wasn’t invited to the green room, so it’s not that big a deal.”