Marcus Smith

Marcus Smith to sign with Seahawks 2 days after being cut by Eagles

Marcus Smith to sign with Seahawks 2 days after being cut by Eagles

It didn't take Marcus Smith long to find a new home, and he landed in a pretty good spot: Seattle.

Smith, released by the Eagles on Wednesday after three disappointing seasons, tweeted out Friday morning, "12th man let's get it, God is so good!"

Seattle fans are commonly referred to as the "12th Man," so you do the math.

Shortly after Smith's tweet, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Smith will sign with the Seahawks.

The Eagles drafted Smith 26th overall in 2014 and yet he never started a game. In 37 games with the Birds, he had just 24 tackles and four sacks. 

Smith and Jerome McDougle are the Eagles' only first-round picks since 1960 who never started a game for them. And of 630 total NFL first-round picks from 1995 through 2014, Smith is one of just 13 to never start a game.

Eagles camp notes, quotes and tidbits: 1st teams; Rasul Douglas' physicality

Eagles camp notes, quotes and tidbits: 1st teams; Rasul Douglas' physicality

The Eagles had their first full-squad practice on Thursday afternoon, following conditioning tests in the morning. 

Head coach Doug Pederson said his players "really knocked [the conditioning test] out."

Practice began at 12:45 p.m. and offered our first look at the entire squad together at training camp. While it was a really light workout — they call it a "10-10-10" — practice still allowed us to see which players were working with the starters. 

The day after offensive coordinator Frank Reich named Isaac Seumalo the starter, Seumalo took his place at left guard between Jason Peters and Jason Kelce. It's worth noting that Chance Warmack took second-team left guard reps. He is a former first-round pick who, if he rediscovers that magic, might have a shot at taking the starting gig. 

Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith were the team's two outside receivers, while Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor took reps in the slot. 

On the other side of the ball, Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry took first-team reps. For the most part, they lined up with Graham at left end and Curry at right end. Chris Long took second-team reps at left, and Derek Barnett took second-team reps at right end. Barnett at right end is noteworthy because he might have a chance to beat out Curry for a starting gig during camp. 

The Eagles used Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson as their two starting outside corners, with Ron Brooks coming in as the nickel corner. This is a change from the spring when Brooks was still out with injury. During OTAs, Mills was sliding inside in the nickel package and rookie Rasul Douglas took one of the outside spots. On Thursday, Douglas was a part of the second unit, along with C.J. Smith and Aaron Grymes. 

Let's get physical 
Douglas, the third-round rookie from West Virginia, has pretty good size. At 6-2, 209, he has the type of body that can match up against some of the NFL's bigger targets. And he likes to use that body. 

Early in camp, it's been a little tough for him because he hasn't been allowed to use press coverage as much as he would like. That should change soon when the first real practices of camp begin. 

A few times over the first several days, defensive backs coach Cory Undlin has given Douglas the go-ahead to press and the rookie has shown the ability to jam guys at the line. It's an important part of his game. 

"It's big," Douglas said. "I like being at the line of scrimmage. That's where I'm more comfortable at. And it gives me an advantage to mess up timing, using my arms."

The Eagles had referees out at practice Thursday, but the real competition hasn't yet begun. Douglas said he likes to test refs to see just how much contact he can get away with. 

"Definitely," he said. "You definitely want to grab them a little bit, maybe touch them a few more yards after five. And just see what the ref has to say. If he comes back to you and says you're a little grabby, now you know, OK, this is how you're going to call the game for the rest of the game. But if he lets you, then you know he's going to let me play, so you just play ball."  

The day after moves
Pederson addressed the media on Thursday afternoon for the first time since the Eagles traded Allen Barbre to the Broncos and released former first-round pick Marcus Smith. 

Why did the Eagles decide to trade Barbre? 

"Well, first of all, I appreciate everything Allen did for us last year for this organization, last couple of seasons, obviously," Pederson said. "You know, again, it's a situation where we feel real comfortable, I feel real comfortable with some of the young guys on our roster, and to make the move now — and obviously it worked out that we were able to get something for Allen to do it now early. It allows him to be established and it allows our younger players to grow a little bit."

And then there's Smith. Pederson was the Chiefs' offensive coordinator in 2014 when the Eagles used a first-round pick on Smith, so he doesn't get the blame. 

But it's still disappointing when a first-rounder doesn't work out. 

"Well, obviously you want all your draft picks to make your squad," Pederson said. "But again, every case is different. Again, we're very pleased, very happy with some of the performances of our younger players. Again, it's a great opportunity for Marcus now to get in with a camp and get picked up and continue his career." 

Smith cleared waivers on Thursday and is now a free agent. 

Marcus Smith got kind of a raw deal with Eagles

Marcus Smith got kind of a raw deal with Eagles

As we reflect on the biggest draft busts in Eagles history, let’s remember Marcus Smith was almost unanimously considered a reach at the time he was selected No. 26 overall in 2014. Maybe the expectations typically bestowed upon a first-round pick were never entirely fair in the first place.

When we look back at his Eagles career, let’s not forget injuries necessitated Smith move from outside linebacker to inside linebacker just a few weeks into his rookie season, then back again. Nor did Chip Kelly see fit to put Smith on the field in the first place, let alone suit up for half the season. You mean to tell me there was nothing the NFL’s 28th-ranked defense could do with all that athleticism?

Let’s also keep in mind Smith actually showed signs of life under Jim Schwartz in 2016. Of the 61 defensive ends in 4-3 schemes with at least 100 pass-rush opportunities, Smith ranked 43rd in pass-rush productivity, according to Pro Football Focus. He was not completely useless when given an opportunity.

None of which is to say the Eagles made a mistake in releasing Smith on Thursday. Aside from not being very good, he was somebody who clearly didn’t “get it,” too. That was never more evident when he skipped voluntary OTAs this past spring, then explained, “I don’t feel like I missed anything.”

Only the fight for his job.

Smith essentially vacated his roster spot with that decision after managing only 23 tackles and 4.0 sacks in his first three seasons with the Eagles. Nobody needs to feel particularly sorry for a person whose actions suggested he didn’t really want to be here.

It’s not like Smith was ever destined for stardom, either. That much was apparent just watching highlights from his 16.0-sack senior season at Louisville, often coming off the edge untouched against the likes of Rutgers, UConn and Florida International. He was AAC Defensive Player of the Year, not ACC.

Still, I can’t help but wonder if things might’ve turned out slightly different were he not treated as the child Kelly never really wanted from the get-go. Having the chance to learn and play one position – or just to play at all early in his career – could’ve gone a long way. There’s little doubt Smith’s development was stunted at least somewhat by the previous coaching staff.

Perhaps things even would’ve been different for Smith has he simply not been taken in the first round. We’ll never know or understand how much the intense scrutiny contributed to his demeanor, which much like his play on the field, left a lot to be desired.

With all of that in mind, it’s not very difficult to imagine Smith catching on somewhere else and making an impact as a situational pass rusher this season. He’s only 25, packs sub-4.7 speed into a 6-3, 265-pound frame, and once Schwartz simplified the defense and turned him loose at defensive end last season, we saw a marked difference in his performance. Albeit, his performance was still replacement level, but that was a drastic improvement over non-existent.

Should Smith experience even a modicum of success in the NFL, maybe all of the what-ifs from his time with the Eagles will finally be taken seriously. Until then, I doubt too many people really care whether one of the greatest draft busts in franchise history may have got a bit of a raw deal.

Smith also could've been a bust regardless of where he was drafted or how coaches cultivated his talent. Regardless, the Eagles also set him up to fail.