Leading up to the draft, most fans knew there was a good chance that Louisville would have two guys get drafted in the first round. For a while, it looked like that may be the case, only one of those two was a bit of a surprise. Marcus Smith was picked 26th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles with a pick that maybe didn’t excite their fans very much, but it made us Cards fans very proud. And don’t worry, they will learn to love him too.
Smith came to UofL as a quarterback. He then moved to linebacker before finding his spot on the defensive line and becoming one of the best pass rushers in the country last season. He still has the size that will allow him to drop back and play some linebacker, so you will probably see that out of him.
His versatility and athleticism have taken Marcus Smith from a quarterback to a first round NFL Draft pick on defense. That is pretty incredible.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly had this to say about Smith when he met with the media Thursday night.
“We obviously selected Marcus Smith with the 26th pick. Think he’s an outstanding athlete. He actually got recruited to Louisville as a quarterback. [Louisville head coach Charlie] Strong had seen him in a football camp, and he went to Louisville. I talked to Charlie the other week about him and he just gave us rave reviews. He’s a big kid. He transitioned to the outside linebacker position. I think he has a huge upside. He’s a very, very good athlete. He’s over 6’3, in the 250, 255 pound range, ran 4.68, He’s got speed coming off the edge. We thought adding a pass rusher was a big thing for us. I think a young kid to bring in behind Trent [Cole] and Connor [Barwin] and those guys can teach him the ropes and bring him along and show him what we can do. But I think his ceiling is very, very high. We’re excited. He’s a tough, hard‑nosed football player. A little bit new to the position. Maybe a similar situation to Lane [Johnson] in terms of you’re getting a guy that is a huge upside because he hasn’t played the position that long. They played multiple defenses there. He’s played with his hand on the ground, he’s played standing up. He can drop into coverage, he can rush the quarterback. We’re excited about adding him. The fact that we could move back a little bit and pick up another pick because we were short in what we think is a good draft, we felt is a great situation for us.”