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Monday Round-Up: Geno Smith Climbs In The Athletic's Annual Quarterback Tiers Rankings 

Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith leaps 15 spots after a standout 2022 season on The Athletic’s annual NFL Quarterback Tiers list.


Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Monday, July 31 — about your Seattle Seahawks

Geno Smith Climbs In The Athletic's Quarterback Rankings

In 2022, Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith led Seattle to a playoff appearance and earned the AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. In The Athletic’s 2023 NFL Quarterback Tier rankings, Smith climbs 15 spots and 2 tiers from his previous ranking.

It's been quite the year for Smith, following Seattle trading quarterback Russell Wilson last March. In 2022, Smith took home the AP Comeback Player of the Year Award, after throwing for 4,282 yards, 30 touchdowns while posting a league-leading 69.8 completion percentage. Smith earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl, after leading the 9-8 Seahawks to an NFC Wild Card playoff appearance. But heading into last season, Smith had played just 10 games in four seasons. In 2021, Smith spotted for Wilson in four contests, completing 65-95 passes for 702 yards and five touchdowns. Prior to the 2022 season, Smith was ranked No.35 in Mike Sando's Quarterback Tiers, placing into Tier 5, which is classified as "Best suited as a backup."

In a year's time, the 32-year-old has leapt to No. 20 on the list and in Tier 3, which Athletic writer Mike Sando compiles by surveying NFL coaches and talent evaluators. The third tier's description for a quarterback is "a legitimate starter but needs a heavier running game and/or defensive component to win." Smith's numbers in 2022 would suggest he should be even higher on the list, but it was still a big jump from a player who before 2022 had been a backup for seven seasons, and was the third-largest single-year jump in Sando's decade history of tier rankings.

Voters loved Smith entering last season, but only as a backup. They did not think he would emerge as a solid starter for the Seahawks. Then again, even Seattle had to be surprised. "Nobody would have guessed he would be a Pro Bowl quarterback last year," a GM said. "Some guys make a jump. He has solidified as a legitimate starter that you can win some games with." The Seahawks were 9-8 and reached the playoffs with a team that, from an EPA standpoint, ranked higher on offense (15th) than on defense (25th). "He's got arm talent in terms of strength and accuracy, he's got mobility, and the guy is really smart," an offensive coordinator said. "He also has a great way about him with the guys, and what expressed itself is that the can lead a football team. They believe in the guy. And so I put him at a 3, but he is in that 2-3 range, depending on the day." Smith's year-over-year jump in average tier vote was the largest for any quarterback from last year. It was the third-largest single-year leap for any player in the 10-year history of Quarterback Tiers and the largest for anyone who had already appeared in the survey multiple times (Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson made larger jumps after appearing in Tier 4 initially because they had not started much to that point). "I don't think what Geno did last year was a fluke," a defensive coordinator said. "You did see him press a little bit at times, which could be more of a mindset thing. To become a 2, you have to prove it two years. Geno has the ability to do it. I do not expect a big dropoff."

Smith's teammates and fans would surely like to see him ranked a bit higher on the list, but for the quarterback approaching Year 11 with a restart on his career, it's just another mountain to climb.

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Randall Morris, Jermaine Kearse and Cliff Avril were just a few of the Seahawks Legends present Sunday, at training camp for Legends Day:

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