Eagles team captain Darius Slay offers an A-1 critique of Nolan Smith

Darius Slay offers his tip of the cap to Nolan Smith.
Nolan Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
Nolan Smith, Philadelphia Eagles / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Think back to this same time last year. Remember what that felt like? Labeling ourselves as having 'mixed emotions' doesn't quite do the trick. We were a little over five months removed from Super Bowl LVII. A Philadelphia Eagles roster that we thought would have an opportunity to be remembered as the best ever was being discussed as being one of the most disappointing.

But, there was also hope.

Following the addition of an impressive NFL Draft class, there was a sense that the Birds could get back to football's biggest game and win it. We know how that turned out, but the first-round selections of Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith contributed mightily to that theory. Yeah... There was a buzz growing.

Let's talk about Nolan while we have a moment. We had seen early mock drafts that sent him to Philly as their first of two night one selections. Some would have been satisfied had that happened, but he fell to the Birds as the 30th overall selection.

There was a shoulder issue that set him back some. The Eagles also had Haason Reddick on the roster, so they didn't need the rookie to be a key contributor in year one. That will change in 2024.

Reddick is gone. There's a new defensive coordinator, and we expect that more will be asked of the former Georgia Bulldog.

Darius Slay throws his full support behind his Eagles teammate, Nolan Smith.

There aren't many Eagles that move the needle like Darius Slay once he finds his way in front of a microphone. There aren't many podcasts that are more entertaining than Green Light with Chris Long. Throw those ingredients in the pot. Let them simmer, and the dinner dish these two produce is sure to be appetizing.

We're in luck. Big Play stopped by Green Light recently.

Everything from last season's collapse to Slay's comfort level with having Avonte Maddox present was on the table. On the subject of the latter discussion, he stated he knows where to go and who to cover with Avonte present because they have played together for so long. He also mentioned that it will take a little more time to develop that same chemistry with younger players, understandably so.

Nolan Smith was mentioned as Chris asked if the UGA product looks different this year. Slay stuck his chest out while discussing the second-year edge rusher. We hope the youngster was listening. He could find a lot of inspiration by hearing what the two vets had to say.

Slay offered the following critique "He looks a lot different this year. One thing I can say about Nolan, ever since I met Nolan, he only knows one speed. He's one of the guys you (have) to watch out for. He hits teammates and everybody.

He's been in practice, man. He's the guy that's going to run to the ball... He's not a ten-yard guy. He's more like I'm trying to 'see ball, get ball'. (It's) going to be a special year for him this year man, especially after learning behind Haason (Reddick all year (as a rookie). I think he's going to be very special."

Philly has some tone-setters, and they're young. Jalen Carter... C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Sydney Brown, Reed Blankenship among others... We already know Smith has an attitude. It should be fun to watch these guys grow up together. Judging by some recent comments made by A.J. Brown, it appears Quinyon Mitchell has some juice as well. He's winning the respect of veteran teammates.

Nolan conquered that hurdle last year. He says the shoulder is okay. Let's cook. We expect the 2024 regular season will be a coming out party for the former first-rounder.

Check out Slay's full interview below. Thank Green Light With Chris Long's YouTube channel for the visual.

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