Follow Jeff on Twitter @Jeff1470TheFox for the latest on the Eagles and NFL coverage!
It’s like Christmas Day for all NFL fans where they see how each of their respected franchises build their squads for the future and where many young men’s dreams will come true when they receive that phone call and hear their names called by NFL Commish Roger Goodell. And after the Eagles surprisingly made the playoffs a year ago and won the NFC East Division Title, there were high hopes for Chip Kelly and his scouting team to build upon that and bring some quality talent to his football team and Kelly feels he has done just that.
After the Eagles traded down from #22 with the Cleveland Browns to #26, they ended up selecting Linebacker out of Louisville, Marcus Smith. The Eagles bring in the 6’3″ 252″ pass rushing specialist who broke out last season with 42 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks which was good for 2nd in college football. In 3 years Smith recorded 83 total tackles, 32 tackles for loss, and 24 sacks. The Eagles saw their issues last season on the defensive side of the football getting pressure on the quarterback, taking down the QB only 37 times in 2013 which was good for 20th in the NFL, and bring in a player of the future that can do just that.
Eagles LB/DE Trent Cole is now on the wrongside of 30 of age(31 years old) and isn’t getting any younger. Despite having a bounce back season in 2013 with 8 sacks last year, the Eagles knew they had to look down the line at the position getting a guy like Smith who brings a good pass-rush with his quick first step and athletic ability. He does lack an ideal size at the position and is a liability in the run game but overall has great potential. I feel the Birds kind of reached on the selection a bit as many experts had him 2nd-3rd round grade but they hope they got a guy that will be the heir to Trent Cole and is a force to be wreckon with on the opposite side of LB Connor Barwin. Cole, Barwin, and hopefully now Smith the Eagles will have a pass rush that the rest of the league will fear to face.
This might not be the favorable pick among the fanbase especially passing on QB Johnny Manziel and some impact players such as CB Darqueze Dennard from Michigan St and WR Marquise Lee from USC(who is still available starting rd 2)who were available at number 22 as well especially with the Eagles past track record of drafting pass rushers in the first round such as Brandon Graham and Jerome McDougle, but I feel Chip has a plan in mind and addressed a need the Eagles had to upgrade at which was getting better on the defensive side of the football. This team was one of the worst statiscally in the passing game and what better way to fix that is getting better up front and win the battle in the trenches with a guy that has great speed and strength to get a pass rush on opposing quarterbacks. What im trying to say is, give it time Eagles fans! Give it time before you judge the pick! Who knows we could have your next defensive rookie of the year!
News and Notes
-Smith was named Third-team AP All-American (2013), AAC Defensive Player of the Year (2013), First-team All-AAC (2013) -Smith becomes the first Eagles LB drafted in the 1st round since Jerry Robinson in 1979 -QB Johnny Manziel was available at #22 for the Eagles to take but Kelly stuck with his guns and backed up QB Nick Foles and showed the fanbase that he believes in Foles as his quarterback by not selecting Manziel at that spot and trading away the pick. -The Eagles by trading down in the 1st round, gain a 3rd round selection from the Browns and now have picks: 2nd round (No. 54); 3rd round (No. 83, 86); 4th round (No. 122); 5th round (No. 162); 7th round (No. 237).