Final Eagles 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Philly adds day-one contributors
The Eagles add to their pass rush’s rotation with the selection of Nolan Smith.
Rumors have circulated recently about the Philadelphia Eagles’ interest in multiple offensive players. We have heard stories about Texas running back Bijan Robinson, Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and a couple of the draft’s top-rated offensive linemen.
However, based on Philadelphia’s draft history and after watching them select both Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett seemingly out of nowhere (and based on the fact that both will be free agents following the coming NFL season), taking Georgia’s Nolan Smith makes a ton of sense.
Smith started 22 games for the Bulldogs during the 2021 and 2022 college football seasons. He recorded 6.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. Standing at six-foot-two and weighing in at 238 pounds, Smith is slim for a pass rusher, but he is incredible at finding his way past blockers.
According to Pro Football Focus, Smith also possesses upside as a run defender. He led all edge rushers in the FBS (those with a minimum of 50 run-defense snaps) with a stop percentage of 14.9 percent. With an elite combination of athleticism and relentlessness, Smith is an edge rusher who can immediately improve any defense with his versatility.
An alum of both IMG Academy and Georgia University, Smith has always stood out among elite players at every level since his high school days. 247Sports ranked him as the 2019’s top recruit in the country when he was coming out of high school. He was also their 20th highest-ranked player of all time.
Smith impressed at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. He ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash and showcased a 41.50-inch vertical jump. Both ranked first among all edge rushers. In the broad jump, he notched a ten-foot, eight-inch leap which was third among all edge rushers in that drill. Smith missed the end of Georgia’s 2022 National Championship run due to a torn pectoral muscle, but he is ready to go for the 2023 NFL season.
He’d be a nice weapon for defensive coordinator Sean Desai.