The Philadelphia Eagles picked linebacker Marcus Smith in the first round. Get to know the pros and cons of his game.
The Philadelphia Eagles shook the NFL world when they named Marcus Smith, an edge rusher from University of Louisville , their first-round pick. But as Ray Farmer, the Cleveland Browns’ general manager said “once you draft them, nobody cares when they were picked”. Smith is now an Eagles and all that matters is what he brings to the table and not when he was selected.
I spent a couple of days watching Louisville games from the 2013 FBS season. Overall, Smith has good size for a 3-4 outside linebacker and has very long arms that help him can keep blockers from locking him up. He played in both sides of the defensive front.
Smith is a passionate player who has a very good motor and light feet. On the other hand, he needs to add some muscle and increase his strength.
As a pass rusher, Smith does a better job when rushing from the inside. He usually lines up wide, but is more efficient when he changes direction and tries to beat blockers from the inside.
Despite some rare bull rushing incidents, it was obvious that Smith lacked strength. Most of the times he won with speed and not by overpowering his opponents. In the NFL, Smith will struggle against strong and athletic offensive tackles.
He has an inconsistent first step and he loses his battle when he is not the first one to fire off the ball. On the other hand, he has an excellent spin move that he likes to use to get to the inside when he can’t win the edge.
When Smith gets to the quarterback, he always aims for the ball and has shown the ability to cause fumbles and knock down passes.
It wasn’t only his aggresiveness that didn’t help Smith. He showed little to no recognition skills and he is not fast enough to chase rushers once they get past him.
Smith is willing to contribute in coverage, but unfortunately he lacks awareness when droppings back. He wasn’t asked to play man coverage often and at times he looked like a fish out of the water. He has the physical tools to cover tight ends, but needs to work a lot to be able to do that at the next level.
Has the physical tools to cover tight ends, but needs to work a lot to do that.
One last thing I’d like to add about Smith’s performance in college is that he made a number of plays because he was left unblocked. It’s highly doubtful that he will get that kind of opportunities often at the next level.