A few months back I thought Marcus Smith would go as early as the late 2nd or somewhere in the 3rd round. The more I watch of him, the more he grows on me. And he makes a lot of sense as an Eagles target. But when will he go?
Because of the limited # of edge rushers in this draft, Attaochu & Marcus Smith will both go higher than expected.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 14, 2014
There is now speculation that Smith could even sneak into the end of the 1st round. I don’t see that as likely, but never say never when it comes to the draft and pass rushers.
If the Eagles do move back from 22, Smith could be one of the players they hope to get. He would be an excellent fit for the defense. Watch this game and check him out in action.
The first thing that should jump out at you is how much he plays on his feet. Smith is a natural LB. Trent Cole had to learn to play like that and he’s still adjusting. Brandon Graham had an even harder time. Smith played QB in high school, but moved to LB when he got to Louisville. He then moved between DE and LB over the last couple of years.
The Eagles love versatile players. That bit of background info should tell you that Smith is definitely versatile. That also shows up on tape. He plays on both sides. He lines up as a LB and DE. There are times when he lines up like an ILB. Smith can rush the passer or drop into coverage. He’s comfortable playing in space.
Smith has good size. He is almost 6-3 1/2. He weighed 251 at the Combine, but was up at 258 at the Senior Bowl. He’s fine anywhere in that range. He has 34-inch arms, which is excellent size. The Eagles would prefer someone 6-6, but Smith isn’t a short, squatty guy like Cole or Graham. He has some length.
Smith is a good pass rusher and could be the ROLB of the future. If the Eagles ever wanted to, they could move him to the LOLB spot and play him there. Smith is good enough in coverage for that role. He also can set the edge on run plays. Check out his Pro Day workout to see him on the move.
You can see that he’s not the typical DE being moved to LB. This guy is a natural athlete that can play on his feet and on the move. Chip Kelly and ILB coach Rick Minter were at his Pro Day. Smith also visited Philly. The Eagles are showing interest.
One way to look at Smith is to consider him the poor man’s Anthony Barr. Smith isn’t quite as big or athletic and that’s why he won’t be a Top 15 player (which Barr likely will). Both have offensive backgrounds. Both are complete LBs. Both were productive for good teams in 2013. Both guys were highly productive in college and used a variety of moves to get into the backfield and be disruptive.
The Eagles would love a complete OLB to put on the right side to compete with Cole. Smith could be that guy. He will play the run. He can cover. And he’s a good pass rusher, whether flying off the edge or attacking different angles as part of a blitz package. He’s not a guy that needs to line up in the same spot and fire off the edge every single play.
Smith is the kind of long, athletic, versatile weapon the Eagles would like at ROLB. I don’t see him in the mix at 22. I doubt he lasts to 54. If the Eagles move back in the late 1st or early 2nd, Smith would make a lot of sense.