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ESPN’s ‘NFL Quarterback Council’ weighs in on Geno Smith

How does Geno Smith compare to his peers?

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

For the third time in as many years, ESPN has assembled an “NFL Quarterback Council” and ranked the league’s QBs in ten different categories:

  1. Arm strength
  2. Accuracy
  3. Touch
  4. Mechanics
  5. Field vision
  6. Decision-making with the football
  7. Compete level and toughness
  8. In the pocket (aka “Pocket presence”)
  9. Rushing ability
  10. Second reaction ability

Nine ESPN analysts ranked their top ten quarterbacks in each of those categories and the results were published on Monday.

Since this is a Seattle Seahawks site, we obviously only really care about one player: GENO SMITH.

However, in the interest of stretching this out a little bit (and because it’s kind of fun), we’ll also include our division rivals and a certain former Seahawks QB who’s hoping 2023 is better than 2022 was.

Note: Since the ESPN article isn’t behind a paywall, I’m not going to spend time defining the categories. They’re pretty self-explanatory anyway.

Arm Strength

Geno Smith got at least one vote, but didn’t finish in the Top 10.

The “biggest surprise” was Geno’s predecessor:

I’m a little surprised Russell Wilson didn’t crack the top 10. Even after a down season, he still has an absolute cannon to hit the deep balls. His 30 completions thrown at least 20 yards downfield last season tied with Allen for No. 1 in the NFL. Strength-wise, his arm is still very much top-10-caliber, and I’m expecting to see deep shots in Denver’s game plan more often this year. — Dan Orlovsky

For what it’s worth, Josh Allen was the QB Council’s No. 1 guy here.

The QB for L.A.’s NFC team was No. 8, and the injured QB in Glendale, Arizona landed at No. 10.


Naturally, the league’s completion percentage leader in 2022 earned a spot in the Top 10.

Surprisingly, it was only at No. 5.

And it was a tie with the Chargers’ Justin Herbert at that.

The QBs ahead of Smith are Joe Burrow, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Tua Tagovailoa.

Once again, L.A.’s NFC QB was No. 8.

Geno gets a shout-out in the “Stat to know” section though:

Over the past two seasons, only two quarterbacks with at least 300 attempts have recorded a completion percentage over expectation (CPOE) of plus-3% or higher, per NFL Next Gen Stats. One is Burrow (plus-4.1%), who ranked No. 1 on our list. The other? Fifth-ranked Smith, all the way up at plus-4.8%.— Seth Walder

Lest that slip by anyone, Geno Smith’s +4.8% Completion Percentage Over Expectation (CPOE) last year was the highest in the league over the past TWO seasons.

And, with the exception of Joe Burrow, no other quarterback finished higher than +2.9% in either 2021 or 2022.


Geno Smith got at least one vote but didn’t land in the Top 10. He did however, get the write-up for “Biggest surprise”:

Geno Smith should be in the top 10. I’ve made the case that no quarterback in the NFL threw more perfect passes last season than Smith, and many of those throws were downfield with perfect trajectory and pace on the football. He actually belongs in the top eight here. — Dan Orlovsky

L.A.’s NFC QB gets a shout-out in the “Snubbed” section. RW3 was mentioned as another “notable omission.”


Geno got at least one vote but didn’t make the Top 10.

L.A.’s NFC QB tied for 10th - with the player he was traded for, which seems sort of fitting given the circumstances.

Field vision

Once again, Geno Smith got at least one vote but didn’t make the Top 10.

And, once again, L.A.’s NFC QB did.

At No. 10.

Decision-making with the football

Geno Smith is No. 7 on the list.

Mahomes leads the way, followed by Burrow, Rodgers, Hurts, Herbert, and Goff.

Yes, really, Jared Goof Goff is No. 6.

Santa Clara’s presumed starting QB finally makes an appearance with a mention in the “Others who received at least one vote” section.

Compete level and toughness

This is the first category that Geno Smith was completely shut out on, with zero votes.

L.A.’s NFC QB is No. 6, and Russell Wilson got at least one vote.

Moving on.

Pocket presence

No one with a Seahawks connection - either as the QB, as a former QB, or as a division rival - made the Top 10.

All of them received votes though.

And two of them were written about in the “Snubbed” section:

Matthew Stafford’s movement traits and instincts in the pocket have allowed him to play at a high level for a long time, so I would have expected him to make the top 10. But Brock Purdy is a close second for me as the biggest snub. He showed tremendous poise and instincts in the pocket as a rookie, and his 48 games of experience at Iowa State showed up in his play last season with the Niners. — Mike Tannenbaum

Rushing ability

Surprise, surprise, Geno Smith received zero votes.

Arizona’s injured QB landed at No. 5.

RW3 was mentioned in the “Snubbed” section (which was actually about Deshaun Watson):

. . . Ryan Tannehill, Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson all could have made the list, too. — Matt Bowen

Second-reaction ability

Geno Smith got at least one vote.

The injured QB in Arizona came in at No. 8, while FTR and FTN got squat.


Geno Smith got votes in nine of the ten categories but only ranked in the Top 10 in two of them: Accuracy (T-5) and Decision-making with the football (No. 7).

Overall, it’s a decent showing.

Here’s how the rest of the NFC West’s quarterbacks did:

  • L.A.’s NFC QB: one 6th, two 8ths, a 10th, and a T-10
  • Arizona’s injured QB: one 5th, an 8th, and a 10th
  • Santa Clara’s presumed QB: Bupkis

It will be interesting to see this list next year . . . after Geno proves that his 2022 performance wasn’t a fluke.

Go Hawks!