The Eagles needed a pass rusher, and they got one.
After trading back a few spots to the 26th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Eagles selected defensive end Marcus Smith out of Louisville.
Smith, a 22-year-old from Columbus, Georgia, attended Louisville from 2010-13, and was very productive during his stint at the school. During the 2013 season, he was second in all of college football with 14.5 sacks, and he recorded 42 total tackles. He was named a third-team All-American, first-team All-AAC, and was named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year after his senior season.
Smith began his college career as a quarterback, but was quickly moved to outside linebacker, and eventually defensive end. This shifting of positions added some versatility to his game, as he can double as an outside linebacker, although defensive end is his preferred position.
His versatility has been noted. From NFLDraftscout.com:
“[Smith] lacks physically imposing size or strength, but his initial burst, along with his active hands and energetic play style allows him to be effective, whether rushing the pocket or dripping into space.”
According to CBSSports.com, here are some of his strengths and weaknesses:
STRENGTHS: Broad-shouldered, long-armed athlete. Good initial quickness out of the three-point stance, showing enough burst to cross the face of offensive tackles on the perimeter. Good club move to break free from pass blockers as well as the power to effectively push opponents into the pocket on the bull rush. Alert defender who locates the ball quickly and shows good balance to pursue laterally and downfield. Shows vision and savvy as a walk-up blitzer, timing his rush with the snap nicely to penetrate his initial gap or when looping on stunts. Awareness and underrated athleticism evident when asked to cover tight ends and slot receivers on underneath routes. Gets an effective jam on his target and is athletic enough to handle coverage duties for a few yards. Physical, reliable tackler who wraps his arms securely and arrives with a thud. Good strength to rip away at the ball while making the tackle.
WEAKNESSES: May be viewed as a 'tweener by some. Strong enough to create a pile in the running game but struggles against double-teams. Productive pass rusher but many of his sacks (and pressures) come while looping in untouched on stunts. Quicker and more powerful than most opponents at this level but does not possess much variety in his pass rush technique. Too often gets caught up in the hand-fighting at the line of scrimmage. A bit stiff in his midsection, showing only fair ability to bend and explode around the corner and may not possess preferred straight-line speed.
While he may not be physically imposing comparatively, Smith has some size. He is listed at 6’3’’ and 251 pounds. He ran a 4.6 second 40-yard dash at the 2014 NFL combine, and complimented that with a 35-inch vertical jump.
Here are the rest of his combine results:
40 Yrd Dash: 4.66
20 Yrd Dash: 2.70
10 Yrd Dash: 1.58
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 23
Vertical Jump: 35
Broad Jump: 10'01"
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.47
3-Cone Drill: 7.48