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Smith Thrilled To Join Eagles Defense


After trading down in the first round from the 22nd to the 26th overall pick, the Eagles selected Louisville linebacker Marcus Smith to help out in the pass-rushing department. Shortly after hearing his name called, Smith spoke via conference call, expressing his excitement and gratitude after finally turning his NFL dream into a reality.

Smith was considered one of the top pass-rushers in this year's draft class, but he was still unsure about exactly where he would end up. He knew the Eagles had an interest after they attended his Pro Day at Louisville, but he was still unsure of where he would land until he received the call from Philadelphia.

"I had a feeling that I would (be drafted in the first round), but I really didn't know exactly," Smith said. "I thought I was maybe looking at early second, maybe even the third round but I'm just so happy that the Eagles took a chance on me.

"I felt like they really liked me but I had no idea that they were going to pick me. I'm just so overjoyed right now. I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for everything. I had no idea, man, until they made that phone call and told me they were going to pick me."

Standing at 6-foot-3, 251 pounds, Smith leaves Louisville after a very productive career. In his senior season with the Cardinals, Smith recorded 12.5 sacks, the second-highest total in the nation. He was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the American Athletic Conference and finished his collegiate career with 22 sacks, the seventh-most in school history.

Recruited as a quarterback, Smith was quickly converted to defense. It took some time for him to adjust to the change, but once he did, he was able to find his stride on the defensive side of the ball.

"It took me a year to settle in going from quarterback to linebacker because I had to get the mentality of a defensive player that knocks people down on the other side of the ball," Smith explained. "I think what I've learned over the years, I've gotten better each year and this year I had an outbreak. I feel like I can carry everything that I did this year to the NFL. I want to make an impact right away and I know the coaches they have in Philly will train me up and get me ready for the season coming up."

Aside from Smith's terrific size-speed combo, he also has the versatility desired by Eagles coaches. Though his sack numbers were very impressive, Smith also proved the ability to move around the defensive formation and drop in coverage when the situation called for it.

"It was 50-50," Smith explained. "I believe they dropped me 50-50 last year. Maybe not as much my junior year, but last year they dropped me back more. Going into the middle of the season I started rushing a lot more because they wanted me more involved getting to the quarterback. They wanted somebody to get to the quarterback. I was doing both so I would say 50 percent."

As Chip Kelly mentioned in his press conference, Smith joins the Eagles in a similar situation as Lane Johnson did last season, as a player fairly new to the position with a great amount of upside. Despite a small amount of unfamiliarity, Smith is confident in his abilities at the NFL level.

"I don't think I've reached my full potential yet," Smith said "I continually work every day and I know I have a lot of stuff to polish up and I know I have a lot of stuff to work on. I think once I'm in the league long enough and once I'm around the right people, especially on the Eagles that can teach me the things that I need to know, I think I'll be the great player that I want to be.

"I think with my abilities I can be a double-digit sack guy. I feel like once I get into camp and once I get rolling and get into a groove I think I can become a double-digit sack guy. I really do."

Smith will be officially introduced at the NovaCare Complex on Friday at 4 PM (which you can watch live right here on He is not very familiar with Philadelphia, but he does know one important fact about the city: Winning is what matters, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to do so.

"I do have family that stays in Philly, but I've never been to Philly," Smith said. "My expectations in Philadelphia are to win championships. I want to come in and help right away. If they need me to do anything – if it's special teams, if it's going to rush the passer or if it's just playing on first and second down, or just playing on third down I'll do whatever you need me to do to try and help the organization win. I know one thing about the Eagles is that they're on the rise and we're going to be a winning team."

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