West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith knows there are high expectations for him after what the class of rookie quarterbacks did in 2012. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, III and Russell Wilson all led their teams to the playoffs. With more and more teams playing their young quarterbacks early, they want to see results early as well.
For Smith, who many believe will be the first quarterback taken in this year's NFL Draft, knows what lies ahead, especially since this year's crop of signal callers is considered a weak one.
"Those guys changed expectations for many quarterbacks let alone rookies," Smith said when he addressed the media at the NFL Combine on Friday afternoon. "Those guys stepped right in, including Russell (Wilson), and were leaders most of all from day one.
"And that's the one thing I took from it. No matter what age difference, where you come from or what pick you are when you're taken for that role as a quarterback in the NFL, you have to lead by example. That's the thing all those guys did. They set the bar very high. I want to be one of those guys that step in and do the same thing."
Smith is ready, though. Cardinals fans will recognize his confidence. It sounds a lot like young cornerback Patrick Peterson. Peterson works his tail off, but certainly talks a good game. In his mind, he is the best at his position. Smith knows he will succeed at the next level.
"I don't feel any pressure," Smith said. "I'm totally confident in my abilities. I'm not cocky or trying to say I'm this all-world player right now because I have many areas where I need to grow. But I do feel like I have a great, tremendous skill set and that I have an opportunity to showcase that, and it's something I look forward to. I'm athletic, I'm a very smart guy. I understand defense, I have a good knowledge of the game and I also put the work in necessary to be good."
To me, it is the perfect mix of confidence and self awareness. We have seen his arm strength and accuracy. He might not make it to pick number seven, but I know I like what I hear. He's a guy I would be willing to give a shot.
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