by Aaron Wilson
July 22, 02013
New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith doesn't lack for confidence. Or an NFL contract now, after officially signing his rookie deal today, the team announced.
Although the second-round draft pick faces a challenge as he tries to unseat embattled incumbent Mark Sanchez for the starting job, Smith likes his chances.
It's not hard to see why. Sanchez struggled mightily last season, and Smith was a prolific passer at West Virginia.
"I feel like I have a great shot," Smith told the Charleston Gazette. "I did a pretty good job overall of just adapting to the system and playbook and felt very comfortable with it. I want to be the best.
"It's going to take time and effort and that's what I'm willing to put in. Once I step on the field it's about business. I'm really appreciative to have made it to this level, but there's a lot more for me out there and I'm going to try and strive for it."
Sanchez holds a clear advantage in experience and Smith reportedly displayed signs of growing pains during the offseason practices.
He'll have to prove to Jets coach Rex Ryan that he fully grasps the offense and is mature enough to knock Sanchez off the top of the depth chart.
Smith has had a rocky road to get this point, plummeting in the draft from a projected top 10 selection to the second round as he fired his agents and then hired Roc Nation, Jay Z's fledgling sports agency, to represent him.
He skipped Sanchez's Jets West camp, leading to speculation that he and Sanchez aren't going to be close while they compete for the job.
Smith passed for 11,662 yards, 98 touchdowns and 21 interceptions for the Mountaineers.
"I'm prepared,'' Smith said. "I'm just getting better daily."
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.