According to Mike Sando, an ESPN poll of NFL coaches has ranked New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith as the worst starter in the league.
— Mike Sando, ESPN.com (@SandoESPN) July 2, 2014
I asked 26 league insiders to grade every projected starting quarterback on a 1-5 scale, with “one” reserved for the best and “five” for the worst. Eight general managers, two former GMs, four pro personnel evaluators, seven coordinators, two head coaches, two position coaches and a top executive participated, attacking the project with gusto almost across the board.
The result of the polling is a composite ranking of all 32 NFL starting quarterbacks, and an understanding of how some of the league’s most important evaluators separate the best from the rest at the position. With their input, we were able to compile an average rating of each QB, to rank them in a 1-32 pecking order, and to divide the starters into general tiers. I’ve passed along insights from voters when applicable.
Tom Brady was the top choice of course, but poor Geno was dead last. Here is the breakdown on Smith.
Geno Smith, New York Jets (4.48 average rating)
It’s too early to write off Smith. Some coaches in particular had a hard time placing any QBs in the fifth tier. To them, a Tier 5 QB would be a backup, not a starter.
“Would a five be an Akili Smith or JaMarcus Russell?” one coordinator asked. “I think the way Geno Smith played last year was close to that. He was a rookie and he struggled and some of his reads were poor, but I would give him a four.”
“He is young enough to make a move,” a pro personnel evaluator said.
Smith finished behind guys like Jake Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Cassel and Chad Henne among others. I believe some around the league just don’t like Geno as a player.