Smith's toughness and talent will be tested like never before after getting drafted by the New York Jets in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. If nothing else, he appears to have the requisite confidence for the Big Apple.
"We're going to the playoffs next year," Smith said on NFL Network right after getting drafted.
If that happens, Smith might not just be Offensive Rookie of the Year. He could be league MVP. The Jets have major question marks at guard, wide receiver and tight end. They have six quarterbacks on the roster, including Mark Sanchez, David Garrard and Tim Tebow. A quarterback or three is going to get released. Perhaps Sanchez will be one of them.
The Jets have a coach in Rex Ryan who is set up to fail. Ryan is in a must-win season, and he has to balance trying to win with developing a young quarterback. Then again, it's hard to imagine Smith being a worse option than Sanchez, who's still on the roster only because his $8 million salary is guaranteed.
"I think Geno Smith is going to be the starter, Week 1, against Tampa Bay, and I think Mark Sanchez will be there and he will be holding a clipboard," NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner said Friday night.
Smith would be better off sitting and learning on the bench. But he's likely to compete for a starting job in training camp, and the temptation to play him once the Jets start losing will be immense. That possibly would give the Jets the highest paid backup in the NFL in Sanchez if he remained on the roster.
If Ryan can't win this season, Smith likely will have to learn another offensive system with a coach who inherits him in 2014.
"I just want to come in and compete. I'm going to accept my role on the team whatever it is," Smith told reporters. "I'm going to come in and work ... do my best for my teammates in order to win a Super Bowl."
We're rooting for Smith. We think the Jets got a good value at this point in the draft. We just don't know if any developmental quarterback can succeed in this situation. On a team that loves to make promises, even Smith knows not to promise a Super Bowl just yet.
"That's a tough one, we'll see."
UPDATE: Ryan was pleased with Smith's mindset.
"I hope he's right," Ryan said, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. "We'll see if that pans out, but certainly that's the right mentality to have."
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.