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NFL Draft: Philadelphia Eagles Should Pass on Geno Smith and Fill Another, Greater Need

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COMMENTARY | I've been relatively hard on quarterback Geno Smith insofar as him being a viable option for the Philadelphia Eagles with the fourth pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Not as hard as Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki, mind you, but nonetheless unsupportive of the Smith-to-Philly concept.

Why? I've generally been unconvinced that Smith is on his way to being an elite NFL quarterback, and with the No. 4 pick, the Birds have a chance to snag an elite guy for their offensive line, defensive line, defensive backfield or at linebacker (where Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan is projected to play in the pros).

But at the end of the day, I'll leave the scouting to the scouts. Nawrocki's assessment of Smith, posted last month, is fairly harsh -- seriously, read through all the negatives and you'll forget pretty quickly that Smith was, statistically at least, a big-time stud at West Virginia -- but that doesn't mean he was wrong on everything.

Here's the problem I have -- the Birds are paying Michael Vick still-too-many millions in 2013 to have him anywhere but starting at quarterback. And they had at least one opportunity that we know of to trade away Nick Foles, but instead clung to the 2012 third-round pick, insisting they had plans for him.

So with that, the Eagles are now going to use their No. 4 overall pick on a quarterback who -- most scouts agree -- at the very least needs a great deal of work and coaching to be a bona fide NFL starter?

We should acknowledge that Vick could very well be gone in a year and that holding tight to Foles when the Kansas City Chiefs came calling could have been little more than an attempt to drive up his value for a future trade. And it still wouldn't surprise me in the least if Philadelphia pulled off a trade involving that No. 4 pick.

Regardless, it would seem to make sense to pass on Smith now and go big with an offensive lineman, or a stud cornerback, or a D-lineman, or Jordan. If we can agree that Smith is not going to be the starter this season -- Vick's contract dollars alone would appear to ensure that -- and that the Birds are fine with Foles at backup, and that the team has plenty of other needs, then why not wait until next season, when the draft class projects to be packed with QBs, to go after a quarterback?

From the games I saw him play in a Mountaineers uniform, I'm relatively certain that Smith isn't as bad as Nawrocki would have us believe. But is he a franchise QB?

That's what Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly have to determine. And if they decide he is one, will Geno Smith be embraced as the Eagles' quarterback of the future, or will he receive the same kind of reaction from Philly fans that Donovan McNabb got in 1999?

My money's on the latter, especially considering all the other needs the Eagles have, and all the other viable options that will be available at No. 4.

More on the Philadelphia Eagles:

Eagles' offensive line situation isn't so bad

Kiper has Philadelphia drafting Geno Smith at No. 4 overall; here's hoping he's wrong


Adam Sparks has followed the Philadelphia Eagles since the 1980s, and has written about the team as a freelancer since 2010.

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