Or maybe more accurately, the question should be: will he fall? If he starts to fall, how long does it last? And will he be Aaron Rodgers’ed?
Yesterday, the pre-draft buzzing shifted away from the draft, and squarely to the shoulders and shredded yet recovering knee of Darrelle Revis. Bucs fans rejoiced, while Jets fans made their John Idzik voodoo dolls that they’ll meticulously destroy Thursday.
The Revis trade that mercifully reached its conclusion yesterday sent the cornerback to the Bucs in exchange for Tampa’s first-round pick this year, and a conditional pick in 2014 that will almost surely be a third rounder. A little later on I’ll look at the draft implications of what went down yesterday, and our boy Alen Dumonjic will check in with his tape guru rantings, breaking down how Revis fits into the Bucs’ secondary.
But right now let’s wonder aloud about the question asked by our friendly headline, and Revis’ impact on said question.
Incredibly scattered draft scuttlebutt always intensifies a few days before the day of pageantry and Roger Goodell shugs. Such is the nature of our wandering and inquisitive minds. But this year, the wondering has felt especially wayward, particularly as it pertains to the most important offensive position.
Throughout most of draft season, it’s been Geno Smith who’s the sole first-round quarterback, and then he’s followed by all the guys not named Geno Smith. Now, what was once mild chatter about others jumping and Smith falling is picking up.
Most recently, the talk was led by this from Yahoo’s Jason Cole during his listicle column running through the possible draft day dealing we’ll see Thursday:
Several teams are trying to read the market for quarterbacks, starting with where top prospect Geno Smith will end up. Smith could easily fall out of the top 10. Where his slide ends up from there will likely impact where quarterbacks such as Matt Barkley, E.J. Manuel, Ryan Nassib and Mike Glennon land. Several teams at the top of the second round, such as Arizona, Buffalo and Oakland, could move up to the end of the first round to grab a prospect.
And while passing along Cole’s report, Rotoworld says they’ve “heard rumblings” that Smith’s agent is nervous about how far his client could slide. In other reachingly-related news, I’m also worried that our office will run out of free Fruit Loops today.
Is it possible that Nassib or even Manuel could join Smith as (late) first-round picks at the position Thursday evening? Absolutely, with one of the quarterback-needy teams (most likely Buffalo) trading into the back end of the round to secure their desired arm if they choose to use their first pick on another need.
But what’s really interesting is how much the Revis trade could change the Smith dynamic. If a tumble starts and he makes it past the Jaguars at No. 2 and the Bills at No. 8 (his two most likely landing spots), then are the Jets far more tempted to reload at quarterback given their new-found flexibility with two picks in the top 15?
Despite the financial commitment to Mark Sanchez and the presence of David Garrard, the answer should be yes. The risk involved in selecting Smith (or any first-round quarterback) is now softened through the safety net provided by being on the clock again five picks later.
What’s scary, though, is if Smith’s fall starts, and then the Jets pass too. That’s why although it feels unlikely now, the possibility of him falling really, really far is a real thing. For those of you who need to visualize that tragic spiral, Smith’s draft experience Thursday could look something like this…