NEW YORK -- The question came out of nowhere Wednesday, like a cornerback coming from the quarterback's blindside.
Was Geno Smith worried about sliding in the draft and being stuck in the green room as be became a nationally televised soap opera waiting for his name to be called in the next day's NFL Draft?
"No," the record-setting West Virginia quarterback said with an abundance of evidence that it might happen. "Some of the best have sat in that green room. Aaron Rodgers did it. Tom Brady wasn't invited. So it's not that big of a deal."
The reality struck Smith between the numbers on the back of his jersey Thursday night. He wasn't picked in the first round and he won't be the first quarterback taken, as was predicted to be the case, because Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel went No. 16 to the Buffalo Bills.
And even though it wasn't a big deal, Smith reportedly left the draft before it was over and announced his plan to leave the Big Apple and go home. He reversed course Friday morning and decided to stay in New York and return to Radio City Music Hall tonight.
The second and third rounds are today, when Smith's high school and college teammate, Stedman Bailey, also figures to be selected in either round. Bailey was Smith's guest for the opening round because Bailey wanted to be there when his longtime friend was drafted.
The draft concludes Saturday with the final four rounds.
Smith at least sounded as if he were prepared for the eventual outcome Wednesday at a NFL Play 60 youth Clinic at the Chelsea Waterside Park -- the area he sat in Thursday was private and off limits to the press.
"I think it's just the deal with the draft," Smith said during a day he spent with 23 other prospects. "I don't think any of these guys know where they're going. If they do, they do a great job of hiding it. I just think that's the deal with the draft. Teams making decisions, I don't think the teams know what they're thinking up until the last minute on the clock, unless they really need a guy and it's a sure-fire thing."
The NFL Network reported Smith left the draft with two picks to go. ESPN reported Smith declined an interview request before he left Radio City Music Hall about two-and-a-half hours after Mountaineers receiver Tavon Austin was picked No. 8 by the St. Louis Rams.
In truth, the draft wasn't situated properly for Smith or the rest of the quarterbacks this year. In the past two years, 11 of the 32 teams drafted a starter.
Four teams drafted quarterbacks in the first round last year and a fifth found its starter in the third round. That doesn't include the Philadelphia Eagles, who may start last year's third-round pick in 2013 for first-year coach Chip Kelly.
In addition to that, the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals all traded for quarterbacks before this year's draft. Each picked in the top seven.