At a time when quarterback Geno Smith has faced harsh criticism regarding his ability to handle adversity, Smith isn’t handling adversity well.
Specifically, the game that is the NFL draft isn’t going the way he expected, so Smith plans to take his bat and ball and go home.
Smith told ESPN’s Suzy Kolber after Thursday night’s opening round that he won’t be back on Friday for rounds two and three.
If Smith doesn’t return, he’ll be confirming in the minds of many that he can’t show grit and resolve under pressure. That he’ll sink his head and slump his shoulders when the team is 14 points behind in the third quarter. That he’ll pout if he’s not the starter or if he gets benched. That he’ll complain about the use of too many running plays when he prefers to air it out.
At a time when multiple other quarterbacks remain on the board, Smith needs to stand tall in the face of disappointment and show up for Friday’s festivities. Only 32 players have been picked, including just one quarterback. And if Smith thinks he has it bad, at least Smith didn’t have to experience his college coach Dana Holgorsen take an NFL head-coaching job, trade down from No. 8 to No. 16, and then select E.J. Manuel.
When Smith accepted the invitation to the draft, he knew there was a chance he wouldn’t get picked in round one. If he had any concerns about his ability or willingness to show up for the second day of the draft, he shouldn’t have agreed to make the trip to New York.
Then again, maybe he was listening a little too closely to those who were insisting that he’d be a top-five pick.
There’s still a decent chance Geno will be a top-five pick in round two. If he doesn’t return to the draft on Friday night, interested teams could opt for one of the other quarterbacks instead.