Wait ends for Geno: Jets tab West Virginia quarterback in second
West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith celebrates following a 59-10 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks in his final game at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV on December 01, 2012.
Patience paid off for former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith on Friday night when he was selected by the New York Jets with the seventh pick in the second round of the NFL Draft.
After he was bypassed in the first round Thursday night, Smith decided to return to Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Jets made sure he doesn't have to leave anytime soon, using the 39th overall pick to take the 6-foot-2, 218-pound record-breaking passer.
“I'm here today because of what I withstood,” Smith told NFL Network minutes after he was selected. “The work is just beginning for me.
“It was important for me to stay (in New York). I have a lot of family here and a lot of people who have been standing behind me and supporting me my whole career.”
Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill (6-1 1⁄2, 303), a first-team All-Big Ten selection last season, was picked by the Seahawks in the third round (87th overall).
Wide receiver Stedman Bailey will join former WVU teammate Tavon Austin in St. Louis.
The Rams drafted Bailey, who caught 41 career TD passes, in the third round (92nd overall). Austin was the Rams' first-round pick (eighth overall).
Smith received encouraging words from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers — who once endured his own prolonged and disappointing NFL Draft — when he told him earlier in the day, “Good things come to those who wait.”
“I knew that all along,” Smith told NFL Network.
Smith's selection creates an interesting scenario for the Jets, who picked quarterback Mark Sanchez with the fifth overall selection in 2009. They also have former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, who has largely struggled in his three NFL seasons.
“I am ready to compete,” Smith said. “I am ready to go in there and win a starting job.”
Smith was one of top quarterbacks in the nation last season, completing 72.1 percent of his passes for 4,201 yards and 42 touchdowns.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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