Many NFL Draft experts have projected West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith to be the first overall selection in the draft when the Kansas City Chiefs go on the clock, including SB Nation's Dan Kadar. However ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper thinks that the team might be better off taking Smith with its second pick.
In a conference call on Wednesday, Kiper told the media that he simply couldn't justify a quarterback going in the top 10, therefore he dropped the quarterback position out of the first round of his mock draft altogether:
"I couldn't put a first round quarterback in because I couldn't get one in the first seven or eight and no one else needs one," Kiper said. "Now in the back end of the first round, maybe you'll see a team move up to the late 20s for Mike Glennon, Geno Smith or Matt Barkley."
Kiper wasn't convinced that Smith was the best quarterback in the class even, giving Glennon of N.C. State the slight edge due to the lack of talent around the 6'5, 232-pound signal caller. "I looked at 6 games N.C. State played, all I saw were drops."
That wasn't to say that Smith isn't considered a top talent by some, as Kiper noted that the opinions about Smith have varied. "Mixed opinion on Geno Smith. Some say top 10, but I think he's in the 20s," Kiper said. He noted that he almost matched Smith with the Cardinals in his mock draft at No. 7 overall, but "spoke with people in the league and didn't get that feeling."
"I don't just go by what I think, I go by what my friends in the NFL think and they don't have quarterback in the top 10," Kiper said.
Although he said that Smith, Glennon, Barkley, Ryan Nassib of Syracuse and Tyler Wilson of Arkansas will all push for starting spots in 2013, none of them should start and they will pale in comparison to the 2012 NFL Draft class that featured Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill.
"This group of QBs will be held to last year's standards," Kiper said, "Which is sad, but that's how it is, and I don't think they will live up to it."
Rounding out the quarterback class, Kiper called Oklahoma's Landry Jones a "third- to fifth-round guy" after he struggled with accuracy and decision making. Zac Dysert of Miami (Ohio) has been projected by some as a second round player, but Kiper said "he has a chance to be the first guy off the board in Day 3" and called him a "fourth- or fifth-round" prospect.