Rex Ryan is a lame-duck coach, and they drafted Geno Smith for the future. I think the best scenario for Smith would be to be thrown into the fire to see it he can handle the mental and physical grind of the National Football League. While the trend had been, before last season, to sit quarterbacks and let them learn behind a veteran, last year Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson changed that thinking. While I don’t believe that Smith has their level of talent, I believe it is necessary to see what you have now, rather than waiting behind a lame-duck coach and QB. If he can’t handle the NFL mentally, then, draft another QB next season. If he can, then endure the most likely inevitable sub-.500 season that comes with this.
There is one organization that did this, and it led to championships, the Dallas Cowboys. On April 28, 1988, the Dallas Cowboys selected Michael Irvin with the 11 th overall pick in the NFL Draft. That year the Cowboys finished 3-13.
On February 25, 1989, Jerry Jones purchased the Cowboys and fired the only coach and general manager in team history, Tom Landry and Tex Schramm. He then hired Jimmy Johnson. Later that spring, on April 24, the Cowboys used their no.1 overall pick on UCLA QB Troy Aikman. They would subsequently give up their 1990 first round pick to draft Steve Walsh in the Supplemental Draft.
Aikman would win the QB battle in training camp over Walsh, but he broke his wrist in Week 4 and didn’t return until Week 9. He finished the season with an 0-11 record as a starter, and the Cowboys finished 1-15.
After Week 4, on October 12, the Cowboys pulled off a trade that propelled their dynasty. They sent Herschell Walker and and four draft picks to the Minnesota Vikings for Jesse Solomon, David Howard, Issiac Holt, Darrin Nelson (whom they traded to San Diego after he refused to report to Dallas), Alex Stewart and eight draft picks. They parlayed draft picks to move up to #17 and draft Emmitt Smith in 1990 and draft Russell Maryland in 1991, and they used one of the draft picks to draft Darren Woodson. This trade was the basis of the team that won three Super Bowls in four years.
I will grant you, that that was prior to free agency and the salary cap. However, in this rookie scale age, building through the draft and adding major pieces though free agency is the best way to go, and since high draft picks’ contracts are scaled, putting them out there early to see what you have is worth the risk. Endure through a tough season, and it may land you another high pick in the draft which you could use to build around this piece, if he is capable of handling the NFL. If not, then draft your QB of the future in the 2014 draft. Whatever the case may be, the best way to go in today’s NFL is to break them in early like the Cowboys did with Aikman.