It would have been crazy to even fathom a month ago, but Geno Smith has quickly become a legitimate NFL MVP candidate for the Seattle Seahawks in 2022.
Usually, the term NFL Draft bust is reserved for first-round picks, but as the quarterback who was selected with the 39th overall pick, it would be fair to consider Smith as a bust from the 2013 event. However, that was until this season.
Athletes in professional football don’t have a career renaissance nine years into their runs in the NFL. Especially not at the quarterback position. If you haven’t evolved into a good starting QB by your fourth year, then it’s probably not going to happen. Yet, after eight seasons, a failed run in New York, a stop in Los Angeles, and then now in Seattle, Smith is not only playing like a good QB, he is playing like a great one.
Not much was expected of the 2022 Seattle Seahawks. Especially after they traded away team icon Russell Wilson. They were seen as a team that would be lucky if they finished near .500. Yet, here we are, seven weeks of the NFL season in the rearview, and Smith has led the Seahawks to a 4-3 record and first place in the NFC West.
Furthermore, this hasn’t been a situation where Smith has quietly managed the offense while rookie running back Kenneth Walker led the attack and became an instant star. No, Smith has made big plays all season and helped the team win games despite having one of the worst defenses in the NFL.
In 2022, Geno Smith is a legitmate MVP candidate. Let’s explain why.
Geno Smith has become Mr. Efficient for Seattle Seahawks
Geno Smith failed in his run with the New York Jets because he couldn’t make the most of his opportunities. A signal-caller doesn’t need to put up numbers like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, but they need to make high-percentage throws and complete the passes they should. Yet, Smith consistently could not for much of his career.
- Geno Smith stats (2022): 1,712 yards, 11 TD, 3 INT, 132 rushing yards, 107.7 rating
However, he has taken his game to another level in 2022. In seasons where he had 100 or more passes, his best quarterback rating was 45.9. He had a similar number in 2021 and that is why the expectations for this season were very low. This season he has jumped up 20 points to 66. 8. That is a massive leap in a statistic that is widely considered the best measure of QB performance.
Smith’s jump in efficiency this season has also led to elite-level numbers. Heading into Week 8, he is seventh in passing yards (1,712). He is first in completion percentage (73.5) above the likes of Mahomes and Allen, tied for sixth in TDs (11), fourth in QBR, and third in passer rating. Suffice it to say, he is not just playing at a Pro Bowl, but also at an MVP level after seven games.
Smith has exercised his turnover demons
Part of the reason Geno Smith never became a reliable starting QB in the league, especially early in his career, is that he was a turnover machine. Be it throwing the ball to the wrong team, or coughing it up when trying to make plays with his leg, he couldn’t even reach game manager status because he could never keep his turnovers under control.
That hasn’t been as big an issue in 2022. After seven games and 215 pass attempts, he has just three interceptions. While he’s coughed the ball up three times, he has been sacked the 10th most in the NFL and is on pace to have the second-highest rushing attempts of his career. So all things considered, three isn’t terrible.
Turnovers are what separates the men from the boys at QB in NFL and Smith has had a “Boyz II Men” jump forward this season.
Smith has the Associated Press award for “Comeback Player of the Year” in the bag but if he continues this pace and helps his team win a division title, he could be a serious contender for MVP in 2022.