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New York Jets: Geno Smith's Character Could Lead to His Downfall

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25:  Geno Smith of the West Virginia Mountaineers stands on stage prior to the start of the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
Matt BarbatoCorrespondent IMay 2, 2013

It has been a tumultuous couple of days for Geno Smith and his PR team. Days after falling to the second round and being drafted by the New York Jets, Smith fired his agents Jeff Nalley and Eric Burkhardt, claiming the firing was due to "a number of things."

But maybe Smith's agents weren't the reason he dropped from being a top-10 pick to a second round selection.

Yesterday afternoon, Yahoo! Sports reported that Smith wouldn't interact with or listen to coaches in meetings. One league executive even said that Smith has the talent, but that he "doesn't know what he doesn't know." The same executive went on to say that Smith "thinks he's got it all down."

Another factor that may have contributed to Smith's draft day decline is a lack of leadership skills. In the same Yahoo! story, another team official said that Smith doesn't have much of a presence. Two sources also told Yahoo! that on team visits, Smith would spend much of his time on his phone, rather than talking with coaches.

So why did E.J. Manuel get chosen before Smith? Not because Manuel is the better player, but because Manuel impressed teams with his personality and maturity. Smith is the greater talent, but Manuel is a man, while Smith is resembling a spoiled kid who thinks he knows everything.

This should raise a big flag for Jets fans. There are already plenty of egos in New York, but it is unknown whether even the most brash personalities of Rex Ryan and Woody Johnson can get through to Smith.

Smith has some soul searching to do if he wants to have any shot at becoming a great NFL quarterback. In today's NFL, a quarterback's leadership qualities are almost as important as his arm.

Possessing talent is one thing, but even the greats like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have somewhere they can improve. If Smith is entering the league with a stubborn mindset then he will never progress.

Obviously, character doesn't paint the whole picture about a player on the field, but it certainly affects those around him. Usually, scouts and executives won't pass on a player for minor character issues, but his body language at the draft and his actions from draft day until now are very concerning.

The Jets spent a second round pick on Smith because they need him to be a franchise quarterback, not a little boy who doesn't know how to behave when he doesn't get what he wants. Hopefully, this process makes Smith a stronger person and changes him. But if it doesn't, then the Jets have wasted another high draft pick on a guy they thought came at a bargain.

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