West Virginia vs Syracuse: Geno Smith's Draft Stock Remains Unaffected by Defeat

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2012

MORGANTOWN, WV - OCTOBER 20:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers is flushed out of the pocket against the Kansas State Wildcats during the game on October 20, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  The Wildcats defeated the Mountaineers 55-14.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Geno Smith will still be the first overall draft pick in the 2013 NFL draft.

The West Virginia Mountaineers fell 38-14 Saturday to the Syracuse Orange in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. It was the final time that Smith would put on a West Virginia uniform.

His college career came to a rather underwhelming end as he threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns on 16-of-24 passing.

Needless to say it wasn't the best way to try to impress NFL scouts. Really, though, nothing could have moved Smith off top of many experts' draft boards.

The Kansas City Chiefs will in all likelihood have the first overall selection in the draft. The Chiefs have one of the worst quarterbacking situations in the league, so they'll draft a quarterback.

Smith has been far and away the best quarterback eligible for the draft. If he's survived the Mountaineers' mediocre regular season, he'll certainly survive a bad bowl game.

West Virginia was at one point in the season ranked No. 5 in the nation. Then the Mountaineers lost to the Texas Tech Red Raiders, and their season went downhill after that, as they lost their next four games.

Smith did everything he could to overcome a poor defense, but it was simply too much. It didn't help that West Virginia's running game wasn't up to par, either.

And if you were to judge the other top quarterbacks on how their respective teams performed, Smith is at least on par with his draft rivals.

The Arkansas Razorbacks have been a bit of a laughingstock this season, going 4-8 and losing in overtime to Louisiana-Monroe. All of that was despite the best efforts of Tyler Wilson.

Then there is of course Matt Barkley and the USC Trojans, both of which have been some of the biggest disappointments of the season. It's been an ongoing story seeing how far Barkley has tumbled down some draft boards.

Not considering the team performance, Smith has had a spectacular 2012. He finished sixth in the nation in passer rating, and his 40 touchdowns led the nation during the regular season. He's also been very accurate, throwing only six interceptions and completing 71 percent of his passes.

Smith will have a slight learning curve when entering the NFL. He threw out of the shotgun often in the West Virgina offense. It will take time to adjust to the offense many teams use.

He has all the tools teams look for in a quarterback. Smith has the arm strength, athleticism, accuracy and height to excel in the NFL. He's not the most mobile quarterback, staying in the pocket for the most part, but he's got enough speed to elude oncoming rushers.

One admittedly average game will not affect Smith's draft status.