Marcus Smith gets started on the third string

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Quarterbacks aren’t the only first-round picks to be buried on the depth chart.  In Philly, linebacker Marcus Smith started his career on the third string.

As explained by Matt Allibone of, Smith has been given a low rung as he tries to make the adjustment to life in the NFL.

“I think I’m starting to get [acclimated] now,” Smith said Thursday.  “That first practice was run-and-gun and I was just really tired. Coach Kelly really talks about recovery, and that’s what I did starting the next day.”

In time, Smith could pass Bryan Braman for No. 2 on the left side.  But the starter in front of Smith is Connor Barwin.  And Smith will have a hard time leapfrogging the veteran.

While the Eagles hope Smith, who had 14.5 sacks last year at Louisville, can develop into a top-flight pass rusher, he’ll also be expected to drop into coverage.  And he’s fine with that.

“I like it a lot,” Smith said.  “I did it probably 50 percent in college and it expands my vision of what’s going on in the backfield.  I think my speed is good enough to run with anybody.”

He may be right, but it could be a while until Smith is running with the ones in Philly.  If Smith struggles to make an impact, Eagles fans surely will grumble about the decision to make him the 26th overall pick in the draft.

For more on the Eagles, here’s Tim McManus from and 97.5 The Fanatic on Friday’s edition of PFT Live.

24 responses to “Marcus Smith gets started on the third string

  1. His real competition for a starting job is Trent Cole. Cole is 32 now and while still a good pass rusher, he isn’t the ideal 3-4 OLB who can cover.

  2. I don’t know anything about the man and I have never heard of him before but I like the way he responds to adversity.

    Being a Fantasy Football General Manager I know it takes a lot of Will and dedication to be good in the NFL.

    Marcus Smith has just that.

  3. I think Howie Roseman’s head was in the right place by selecting this guy, considering the Eagles pass rush was one of the worst in the league last season, but at the same time it kind of goes against the philosophy he put forth before the draft. Roseman claimed the Eagles would be drafting the “best player available, not drafting to fill specific needs.” I would say he did the complete opposite of that, taking a guy that was given a 2-3 round grade by every last team in the NFL except for the Eagles.

  4. Yea seems more like a need fill than BPA after they traded down from Manziel to take him. Or there wasn’t much separation between a group of BPAs. Smith shouldn’t worry about the early ranking system and just focus on doing his best and let the team figure how to handle any skepticism from the media or the public.

  5. This is just how Chip roles. Shady also ran with the 3’s at times during practice. Its all about getting the most reps. God the people that write these articals are so stupid. Will he be a day 1 starter? I’m not sure about that but where he ranks on the depth chart after a few practices does not reflect on how good or bad a pick it was…lol

  6. I do know that a lot of teams had a 2nd-3rd round grade on Smith but I also know if Philly didn’t draft him he wasn’t making it past the 49ers in round one. He definitely wasn’t what I was expecting but lets just wait and see what happens.. He seems to have the right mind set and the right frame, seems to have a great knack for the ball but doesn’t look as explosive as what I’d like.. But I guess we will see.

  7. He doesn’t get the red carpet rolled out for him as a rookie so Eagles fans are cynical. In my humble opinion Smith is going to surprise a lot of people. He was excellent at Louisville.

  8. This is a non story. Chip Kelly makes rookies earn there jobs. Lane Johnson, the #4 overall last year, started on the third string and worked to be a starter.

  9. No Eagles rookie is projected to start except for Jordan Matthews in the slot. As Roseman pointed out, that’s a sign that the overall team talent is improving. Good teams don’t rely on rookies.

  10. Lane Johnson started out at the bottom of the depth chart last year. He turned out to be a pretty good selection. Give Smith a chance to acclimate. The Eagles have some depth and are in a position where they don’t have to rush his development.

  11. The Eagles have a lot of great depth, the kids a rookie, and that’s just the way it rolls with Kelly. Smith has prototypical size, great speed and quickness but has to learn how to do a better job of getting off of blocks.

  12. If the Eagles hadn’t picked him the 49ers or Skins would have in the next few selections. Early reports are that he has the right attitude, came in in great shape (not all rookies do) and looks the part…I’m confident he will end up being a very solid player.

  13. Who knows… he might be the next 1st round bust or the next Hall Of Fame OLB. NOBODY knows. That goes for every single pick in this draft too.

  14. The idea is for him to learn the jack spot first, and jump in on that side so barwin can spell cole at the rush spot. Last year you thought the offense wouldn’t translate. Chip isn’t stupid.

  15. Real Eagle fans won’t complain about his productivity this year. We know he was drafted to replace Trent Cole’s 6.5 million salary next year.

  16. I think Smith works hard through training camp and preseason and gets promoted.
    He just needs to show up on tape consistantly, then he just might earn a start.
    That’s how it’s done in Philly.

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