In the 2014 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles spent their 26th overall pick on defensive end Marcus Smith.
A little over three years ago, the Philadelphia Eagles were coming off of a 10-6 in which they had just lost in the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs to the New Orleans Saints. The team was heading into their second season under former head coach Chip Kelly, and many were intrigued by the idea of him bringing his innovative offensive ideas to Philly. By the time the 2013 season ended, everyone was excited to see what the Eagles would do next. They wouldn’t have to wait long. In 2014’s draft, the Eagles selected defensive end, Marcus Smith in the first round.
The selection of Smith brought a negative reaction by Eagles fans, and while It wasn’t exactly like what we witnessed with the Donovan McNabb incident in 1999, it definitely didn’t feel like the defensive end got a warm welcome. Smith was coming off of a solid college career with the Louisville Cardinals. He had 82 total tackles and 25.5 sacks over his three year collegiate career, and in 2013, he was named AAC defensive player of the year and first-team all AAC. Unfortunately for him, what we witnessed didn’t earn him a big reputation coming into the NFL.
Nothing is given, it is earned…
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When Smith was selected, nobody really knew what to expect. He was a quarterback in college that was converted to a linebacker, and he seemed to lack the ideal size for an edge rusher at the professional level. The selection made fans and analysts even more skeptical when NFL.com projected Smith to be drafted in the third or fourth round. Eagles fans were still eager to give him a chance considering he was one of the first players to get picked in the Chip Kelly era.
Smith’s rookie season was surely one to forget. He played in a total of eight games and didn’t register a single defensive stat. Just about everybody was ready to give up on him at that point, and it wouldn’t get any better. Over the next two seasons, he played in 29 games and had 18 total tackles and four sacks. Going into year four, Marcus Smith has already earned the title in Philadelphia as one of the biggest first-round busts the franchise has ever seen.
Normally in the NFL, somewhere around half of the players taken in the first round pan out. The Eagles reached on Smith in 2014’s draft. He was expected to be a second-day selection at the earliest, so Smith felt the pressure, immediately, as he entered the league and set up shop in the city of Philadelphia. As we head into 2017, the Eagles have made their decision about Smith’s future with the franchise. The Eagles won’t exercise his fifth-year option, and that makes him a free agent following the 2017 season.