“With the 26th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Philadelphia Eagles select Marc-…..”.
Up until that point everything seemed to be going as planned in Eagles fans minds. Former Alabama Cornerback Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix went right before the Eagles original 22nd pick at 21 to the Green Bay Packers, but USC wide receiver Marqise Lee was still on the board. What fans didn’t know at that point was that Marqise had a lingering knee injury that switched his superstar appeal immensely. Without knowing that pretty useful piece of information, you could imagine most Eagles fans reactions when his name wasn’t called.
It seems like most fans always want that stand out name in the 1st and even 2nd rounds, what they don’t understand is that good teams don’t always need those flashy names. I’ll admit even I was shocked when the Eagles took Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith, as from the first syllable of the name I was clearly expecting Marqise Lee and my USC fan-self was let down. It took me a moment to realize though we took a projected 2nd round pick, it was still a solid pick.
We all knew a receiver in the first round was not the smart move. Everyone is so fixated on replacing…..that one guy, that they forgot this teams major needs. If the Eagles want to be with the top teams in the NFC theyre gonna have to work the defense up to the likes of the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers, and now even New Orleans Saints.
Now that all thats out of the way lets get to the pick.
In the 1st round the Eagles took Marcus Smith, a very versatile defensive end. Last year when the Eagles played the Saints from seeing Connor Barwin having to cover Jimmy Graham all game, I knew we needed another body like Eagles inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks. Someone who can cover almost anyone on the field, whether it be in the trenches or in coverage and still be a reliable tackler. Though Smith may not be as capable of those things as Kendricks, he can still add a lot to our defensive line. If you take a look at Louisville highlights you’ll see them pairing Marcus Smith up nearly anywhere on the line or in the back. With the Eagles having the luxury of doing this it will take a lot of pressure off the uncomfortable positions some defensive ends and linebackers might’ve went through last year from the 3-4 switch. I see Smith being able to cover the slots and still rush the edge as he does best, enough to help the others like Barwin to stay in the center and take away teams rushing. Another thing many don’t realize is this draft wasn’t jam-packed with Defensive Ends (Which is one of the things the Eagles mainly needed). It has been said before if you can’t stop the passing attack as you’d like, the next best thing is to rush the passer and force mistakes.
It is far too soon to be grading how he will do on the field. Eagles fans (Including myself) are the most unrelaxed fans at times, but all we can do is wait to see how Marcus Smith changes this team. All we have right now are our unprofessional opinions, and that will have to suffice.