2013 NFL Combine: Geno Smith says 2012 quarterback class 'set the bar high'

USA TODAY Sports

Former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has been linked to the Chiefs No. 1 overall pick. Regardless of when he's selected, though, he has the daunting task of living up to the 2012 quarterback class.

Former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is an interesting prospect. Most would say he's the strongest quarterback entering the draft in a year where the quarterback class isn't particularly strong. Mock drafts have contradicted each other when it comes to Smith's future as he has been projected to be taken off the board by the Chiefs with the No. 1 overall pick, while others have projected that he could fall out of the first round.

Regardless of when he's taken off the board, Smith will have to live up to the 2012 draft class' quarterback class of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, who each led their prospective teams to the playoffs, among others who found measures of success as well.

"Those guys changed expectations for many quarterbacks let alone rookies," Smith said when he addressed the media at the NFL Combine on Friday afternoon. "Those guys stepped right in, including Russell (Wilson), and were leaders most of all from day one.

"And that's the one thing I took from it. No matter what age difference, where you come from or what pick you are when you're taken for that role as a quarterback in the NFL, you have to lead by example. That's the thing all those guys did. They set the bar very high. I want to be one of those guys that step in and do the same thing."

Leadership is definitely an aspect of the quarterback position in the NFL, as they're commonly asked to be the face of a franchise and a team leader. The intangibles of any quarterback prospect are nearly as important as their physical attributes. While Smith may not have some of the desired traits of a pro quarterback that Luck or RG3 had last year, he thinks he's more than able to lead a pro team, due to the fact he's the oldest of five kids, a four-year starter in high school and a three-year starter at West Virginia.

Another intangible quality of a good professional quarterback is confidence, and Smith isn't short on that.

"I don't feel any pressure," Smith said. "I'm totally confident in my abilities. I'm not cocky or trying to say I'm this all-world player right now because I have many areas where I need to grow. But I do feel like I have a great, tremendous skill set and that I have an opportunity to showcase that, and it's something I look forward to. I'm athletic, I'm a very smart guy. I understand defense, I have a good knowledge of the game and I also put the work in necessary to be good."

There are several quarterback-needy teams heading into the draft, and the Chiefs aren't an exception. However, as many coaches and general managers prescribe to the theory of drafting the best player available instead drafting for need, it's unclear exactly where Smith will fall. What is clear, though, is there is still a lot of time and a lot can happen between the combine and the draft.

Smith will continue to be one of the most talked about prospects of the upcoming draft simply because it's hard to figure out exactly when he'll come of the board. It isn't hard to imagine him holding a red Chiefs jersey on the first day of the draft, but it's also not hard to see him sit at Radio City Music Hall and wait for an extended period of time for his name to be called.

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