Will The Eagles Draft Geno Smith?

Could the Eagles be looking at Geno Smith to be the Quarterback of the future for Chip Kelly?With the NFL draft just a month away, there has been a ton of discussion about what the Eagles should do with their first round pick. Some believe they should use it on a defensive player. Others feel that drafting the best player available is the best course. Still others think trading down and turning one pick into two picks is the best option. Each of these prospective draft strategies, which have been spouted for months now, hold merit.

In recent weeks, however, a new possibility has arisen.

Since the Eagles worked out West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith in mid-March, speculation about the likelihood of the Birds drafting him has been rampant.

So, just how high are the Eagles on Smith?

It’s tough to say, really. Under Chip Kelly, the Eagles have been no less tight-lipped than they were with Andy Reid. But working out Smith indicates that they clearly have enough of an interest in the quarterback to consider drafting him fourth overall. Combine that with the fact that just about all of their acquisitions via free agency so far this year have been on the defensive side of the ball, and there’s reason to believe they’ll draft an offensive player.

If they should draft an offensive player in the first round, it would likely be a quarterback or an offensive lineman. So Smith fits the bill there.

Smith also fits the mold of quarterback Kelly is evidently looking for. Of the five QBs currently with the Birds, only two are considered pocket passers, both of which are carryovers from the Andy Reid era (Trent Edwards and Nick Foles). All three of the QBs the Birds have acquired since Kelly took over, including the extension of Michael Vick, are mobile. Smith, too, is a mobile quarterback. He also possesses the arm strength and accuracy needed to flourish in Kelly’s blur offense.

So in the sense of skill set, Smith is exactly what Kelly likes to see in his field generals.

That, of course, doesn’t mean he is a sure fire bet to be the Eagles first pick. Some have pointed to the presence of Jeffrey Lurie–who hasn’t attended a potential draft pick’s workout since the Birds worked out Donovan McNabb–at Smith’s workout as an indication of the team’s intentions to draft him.

It’s an interesting theory, but it’s rooted in faulty logic. Lurie himself stated that he attended a workout for the first time in fourteen years less because of who the team was scouting, and more because this is the first time the team has had a top five pick since drafting McNabb, making it their most important draft pick in quite some time.

Still, the presence of all the Eagles decision makers is intriguing.

There is one more thing to consider when gauging the likelihood of Smith being in midnight green next season: Will he still be there at number four? It’s important to remember that three teams have a right to pick before the Eagles. Could one of those teams draft the West Virginia standout?

Of the three teams slotted to pick before the Birds, only Jacksonville is a legitimate threat to draft Smith. They have just two QBs on the roster presently (Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne), neither of which are viewed very favorably. This dearth at the position leaves the Jags with the draft as their best possible method for acquiring a third QB. However, with the defensive-minded Gus Bradley at the helm, I get the sense that they’ll go defense with their first pick.

Smith should still be there if the Birds want him to be their quarterback of the future.

So let’s assume the Birds pull the trigger and draft Smith. What does this mean for Foles and Vick, the two men who played QB for the Birds last season?

For Foles, it means a trade to another team, likely for draft picks. With Smith in the picture, Foles becomes a tradeable commodity. He also would be the odd man out in terms of style, as Foles is a traditional pocket passer with little to no mobility. Kelly and Co. would be more open to trading Foles because he would be their youngest tradeable quarterbacks and would yield the highest return in a deal.

As for Vick: if the Birds were to draft Smith, 2013 would likely be Vick’s last year in Philly. He’d probably start next season, though, adopting the mentor role Doug Pederson had with McNabb in 1999. Worse case scenario for Vick, he’s a veteran backup. But he’s still with the team.

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Ryan Dinger

Along with The High Phive, Ryan also writes for Phillies Nation and The Grapevine. While his sports expertise lie with the Phillies and the Eagles, he is a diehard fan and avid analyst of all five major Philadelphia sports teams. Follow Ryan on twitter @Ryanfromjersey.