One of the most mentioned names leading up to the start of Thursday night's 2013 NFL Draft, was Geno Smith, who continued his ascent into becoming a household name. Unfortunately for Smith, not for the reason he had hoped.
He was projected to go as high as the second overall pick and with each passing selection, television cameras from both ESPN and the NFL Network drew closer, capturing each frustrated expression. The head-hanging, the looking around the room, but not wanting to be noticed, the pure pain and humiliation of having been misled down the road of believing he was a first round pick. Smith was not a first round pick in this draft. . It's too bad those around him failed to prepare him for what occurred last night.
After initially stating he had no intention to return for the second day of selections on Friday, Smith changed his mind. He had come this far, this is what his entire life had been aimed towards.
Why let a little embarrassment and ego-checking keep him from enjoying the greatest day of his professional life? He could end up being the first pick of the second round, still make an enormous amount of money, and prove to be an elite NFL quarterback at some point in his career. Being a first round pick—even being the #1 overall pick does not guarantee viable success in the NFL.
A quick reminder of how badly team's decision-making skills are were shared earlier in the week with ESPN's 30-for-30 film covering the 1983 NFL Draft. Everyone knows that John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino all turned out to be Canton-bound quarterbacks. What many forget, is just like 2013 with Geno Smith, back in '83, Dan Marino was humiliated, passed on by team after team—including his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers. The Miami Dolphins took the chance, and the rest is history. Now don't think for one moment that Geno Smith is a Marino-type talent. As of right now, he is not. Smith may be exactly what he is; an athletic, well-rounded athlete that is a serviceable player in the league.
NFL Draft fans are quick to point out how many teams passed on arguably the best player in the league today until the 24th pick of that year's draft, Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay wouldn't trade him for the world, and even severed ties with the great Brett Favre to give finally give Rodgers his chance. Smith will be the first to admit the experience humbled him, and provided him the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest of all-time. Rodgers even sent some words of encouragement to him:
Hang in there Geno, "good things come to those who wait" -Paul Tagliabue— Aaron Rodgers (@AaronRodgers12) April 26, 2013
Smith will use this experience as a hurdle and a built-in excuse for any struggles he incurs as a rookie. Or, he can play with the chip on his shoulder, use this as motivation, and prove to the world he truly was one of the great steals of the 2013 NFL Draft.