Here’s a roundup of what Mike Mayock, Mel Kiper Jr., Jon Gruden and others think about the Eagles’ selection of Louisville OLB Marcus Smith. Plus, some Round 2 and 3 projections for the Birds.
Said Mayock: “Pretty exciting edge guy. I love the 3-4 outside linebacker with upside. I question his core strength a little bit on tape. The important thing ultimately is: Can this kid play? And right now, what do they have coming off the edge? They got Connor Barwin on one side and they’ve got 32-year-old Trent Cole on the other side. So in that 3-4 scheme, he’s a perfect fit. You may argue that it was a little early, but they already traded down from 22, they picked up some extra picks. I applaud the pick because it attacks an area of need for them.”
And Kiper: "He’s on the rise because of his athletic prowess and that versatility. And what did the Eagles need? They needed a corner, wide receiver and a pass rusher. And they got the pass rusher in Marcus Smith. A couple other guys were on the board. Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State. Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech. They had some options for a pass-rusher. They took a guy that you thought maybe would be a second-round pick in the late first round."
And Gruden: "He has sack production at Louisville. But a lot of it, he’s unblocked. He [former Louisville head coach Charlie Strong] put him on the move a lot in their scheme. But he has an excellent motor, a lot of versatility. He can play right end, he can play outside linebacker, you can move him around as a joker in the sub package. Plays hard on a weekly basis, and he’s been well-trained."
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel got this breakdown on Smith from scouts:
Was a high school QB in Columbus, Ga., but was shifted to defense almost immediately. Started 31 games at DE, finishing with 86 tackles (32½ for loss), 24 sacks and 11 big plays. "He will be drafted higher than you think because he has some pass-rush potential," one scout said. "Might be a pretty good investment. His best production came when he had his hand in the dirt and rushed. I don't see him as an immediate starter. He doesn't have the lower-body build to anchor the run. It will take a year to teach him to play." Played standing up about 70% of the snaps as a senior. "Kind of a hard fit for a 4-3," said another scout. "He's got a knack for rushing. Some of it's inside. He rushes against backs. He's more athletic than Attaochu."
Doug Farrar of SI.com gives the Eagles a B- for the Smith pick:
Projected by most as a second-round prospect, Smith has the power, speed and turn around the edge to make things happen at the NFL level. And in that regard, he’s not as much of a reach as some may assume.
Greg A. Bedard of The MMQB offers his take:
A bit early for Louisville OLB Marcus Smith, at No. 26, but he’s a good player. Looks like the end is near for Trent Cole. That’s too bad. He’s a terrific football player.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com gives the Eagles a B:
The Eagles need a young pass rusher, and he can provide that. He's athletic and fits their scheme. I get it.
Josh Norris of Rotoworld had Smith ranked as his 33rd overall player:
The more I watched the Cardinal, the more I liked him. Not only can he bend around tackles, Smith loves to chase from the backside and converts speed to power with good length and hand use. I know I keep bringing up hands and technical skill, but it really does set great rushers that can win on counter moves apart from good ones that have one trick.
Eric Galko of the Sporting News offers his scouting report on Smith:
Smith made the transition to linebacker and defensive end incollege, leading to one, impressive breakout season. He is raw but has the athleticism, speed to power off the edge. He has versatility and 3-4 outside linebacker potential but projected as a Day 2 pick. He is explosive, working best when he has ample room to build up speed and drive with his upper hands after his lower body generates the required force. With an ideal frame for a 3-4 outside linebacker, he has room to add bulk. He lacks lateral flexibility and is a bit straight-lined as a rusher. He must develop pass-rush skills, particularly in his lateral hand usage and body position to work as an inside-out rusher. In the run game, Smith gets by on explosiveness. He finishes well, playing away from his body with strong hands and finishing with a strong grip. His struggles at the Senior Bowl are concerning, but his speed off the edge, flashes of athleticism and breakout senior season are signs the best is yet to come for the high-upside edge rusher.
And some Tweets worth noting:
Dont worry #Eagles, you’re getting a solid edge rusher who is one of the best at converting speed to power. Refuses to get stuck at the LOS.
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) May 9, 2014
Asked 2 scouts for the biggest first-round reaches. Both said same thing: 1) Marcus Smith 2 Eags at 26 and 2) JaWuan James to Dolphins at 19
— Paul Domowitch (@pdomo) May 9, 2014
Meanwhile, Don Banks of SI.com has the Eagles taking Penn State WR Allen Robinson in the second round:
The Eagles have plenty of options and could easily take any number of available cornerbacks, but Robinson carries great value at 54 and helps offset the offseason losses Philly has suffered at receiver.
Evan Silva of Rotoworld also goes with Robinson. He has the Eagles taking Florida State safety Terrence Brooks and Florida CB Marcus Roberson in the third round.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has the Eagles taking Fresno State WR Davante Adams:
Adams isn't a speedster, but he is the kind of "catch-and-run" playmaker that typically thrives in Chip Kelly's system.
Rob Rang of CBSSports.com also goes with Adams:
Chip Kelly loves playmaking receivers and no one was more productive in 2013 than Adams.
Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com mocks Clemson CB Bashaud Breeland to the Eagles at 54:
Chip Kelly addressed the pass rush in the first round and might look to the secondary with this pick.