In a recent ESPN survey, New York Jets second-year quarterback Geno Smith was named the worst quarterback in the NFL.
Upon hearing the news, Smith exuded confidence–as anyone in his position would–and made a proclamation that likely won’t be forgotten: he thinks he’ll be a top-5 quarterback in the next few years.
“The thing about it is, you have to climb up,” Smith told ESPN.com on Saturday after practice. “If I’m No. 32, by this time next year or the year after, I expect to be in the top 5.”
It’s no secret that Geno Smith is a project for Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. During his rookie season, Smith bounced up and down while dealing with inconsistencies. In an 8-8 season, Smith threw for 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions while posting a passer rating of 66.5.
These aren’t the statistics of a player who hopes to be one of the best in the league in a year or two. Most importantly, Smith’s inability to step into the top-5 rankings may have more to do with the field than Smith. The consensus current top-4 in Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees may all remain in their places with the likes of Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton pushing for consideration.
Fortunately, Smith’s story doesn’t end here. He’s entering his second season in the NFL and with the Jets considerably improving the weapons around him, Geno could well take a leap, hopefully carrying the Jets into the NFL playoffs in the process.
And if no one else agrees with Smith’s statement, one person he’ll always have on his side is Jets quarterback Rex Ryan.
“Let’s take that survey after the season and see where our quarterback ranks,” said Ryan. “Let’s see where Geno ranks.”