Geno Smith impressed N.Y. Jets in second pre-draft meeting

As you might have heard, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan announced Wednesday that Geno Smith will start at quarterback Sunday. But Ryan hinted that Mark Sanchez's shoulder injury played a part in the decision -- it remains to be seen who the Jets' signal-caller will be once the veteran is ready to go.

Smith was selected with the No. 39 overall pick in April's draft, and it surprised some that the West Virginia product fell out of the first round.

In fact, the Jets' early impressions of Smith came in a meeting at the NFL Scouting Combine with all members of the team's brass, sources informed of the quarterback's draft process said. The Jets felt he was lethargic, disinterested and tired -- unimpressive.

They were convinced to have a second meeting, which came at a dinner in Morgantown, W.Va. The meeting involved Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and several scouts (but not Ryan or general manager John Idzik).

That's where Mornhinweg was sold, where he discovered that Smith's personality and love of football matched his tape. The Jets viewed Smith as a "completely different guy." He was engaged, more into football. Mornhinweg also was in love with Smith based on his game tape.

After the second meeting, they were smitten, though obviously not enough to make Smith a first-round draft pick.

Mornhinweg remains a big fan of Smith's upside and believes Geno is a better option under center even if Sanchez is fully healthy. Smith will have a chance to show that Mornhinweg is right in the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But Smith already has the support of the man running the Gang Green offense, and that's bound to count for a lot.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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