No matter what you think of Geno Smith as a future NFL player, it was hard not to feel sorry for him last night. There's one player every year in the NFL green room who this happens to, and in 2013 it was Smith -- fidgeting, staring at a phone that wasn't ringing, glancing up occasionally to see if that bothersome camera was still trained on him (and it always was).
Smith is a former West Virginia quarterback thought to be a possible top-10 pick by many (The Observer had him ranked as the No.10 prospect overall). Instead, the quarterback with the "inflated stats," as Jon Gruden must have pointed out a dozen times on ESPN, wasn't selected in the first 32 picks. Now Smith will be a second-rounder at best, and it's conceivable the Panthers might even have a chance to take him at No.44 when they pick again Friday night, as a backup to Cam Newton.
Should they if that happens? In a word, no. That pick is too valuable for a player who would be a third-stringer this year. It's fine to have another mobile quarterback on the roster. At some point the Panthers will do that, likely replacing Jimmy Clausen once his cap-friendly rookie contract expires. But not with a second-round pick. Not now.
That No.44 pick, as GM Dave Gettleman said last week, really should end up giving you an every-down starter. The Panthers need too much help elsewhere -- cornerback, safety, wide receiver, tight end, offensive line -- to throw Smith a lifeline if he lasts that long.
Odds are he won't. I would imagine he's gone within the first five picks of the second round, which will still leave the Panthers with a multitude of choices. Carolina doesn't have a third-rounder, so this pick must count in the same way that they made Thursday's pick of Star Lotulelei count. I think another "hog molly" of the offensive tackle type or else a hard-hitting defensive back would be ideal.
11 months ago