Cameron Smith, LB, USC
Round 5, Pick 163
Some may argue the Eagles’ biggest need in the draft this year will be a middle linebacker to fill in for Jordan Hicks. It’s a valid argument; however, the Eagles won’t care for it. Hicks played under 70-percent of the defensive snaps last season. The more he missed time, the more Nigel Bradham stepped up and played significantly better in Hicks’ absence.
The Eagles are looking to treat the linebacker position similarly to how they handle the backfield – it’s all about rotating guys in and out. Kamu Grugier-Hill, L.J. Fort, Nathan Gerry, and maybe even Paul Worrilow will get a favorable amount of snaps on the defense in 2019. So the chances of the Eagles snagging a linebacker with the 25th pick seems unlikely.
Not to mention, the Eagles hosted zero linebackers on their pre-draft visits. It’s doubtful they take a guy within the first four rounds, but I could still see a selection later on. Here, they grab USC’s, Cameron Smith. While Smith has four years of starting experience and a high football IQ, he still projects out to the fifth-round. There’s no guarantee he could fill Hicks’ shoes right away, but he could be an excellent developmental piece with tons of upside.