Mayock Compares Marcus Smith To Timmons


NFL: Preseason-Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles

When Mike Mayock watches Marcus Smith II, he’s reminded of another linebacker who was a first-round pick.

“The more I watch him get frustrated trying to rush the quarterback, [he] reminds me of Lawrence Timmons,” Mayock said during an interview on 97.5 The Fanatic with Mike Missanelli. “With the Steelers, he was an outside edge guy out of Florida State. Couldn’t get it done on the edge, but has become one of the better inside linebackers in football. And it wouldn’t surprise me if I saw them move him inside… if he ultimately ended up there.”

Timmons (6-1, 234) has never made a Pro Bowl, but has been a productive player for the Steelers.

Smith (6-3, 251) has played 26 snaps the past two weeks – 18 against Washington and eight against the 49ers. He’s filling in at inside linebacker on a rotational basis, almost exclusively in passing situations. Smith is better in coverage right now than he is rushing the passer.

Per Pro Football Focus, 13 of Smith’s 26 snaps have been spent in coverage; he’s rushed eight times; and he’s played the run on five snaps.

“When you evaluate edge rushers in a 3-4, there are three priorities in this order: one, you gotta be able to rush the quarterback; two, you gotta be able to set an edge; and three, you gotta be able to drop in coverage,” said Mayock. “And I kind of thought his strength was the third one and not the first or second. So it’s gonna take him some time.”

With Mychal Kendricks still sidelined, Smith will continue to rotate in at inside linebacker today against the Rams. Once Kendricks returns, the coaches will have a decision to make on whether to keep him there or whether to move him back outside.

Sheil Kapadia and Matt Cassidy contributed to this report.