Louisville's Marcus Smith believes that he belongs in the same conversation.
Smith, an outside linebacker with the ability to rush the passer, was taken by the Philadelphia Eagles with the No. 26 pick in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night.
“I’m pretty much the same as those guys,” Smith said. “I have good technique and I can rush the passer and I can also drop into coverage. I feel like I am very athletic. I feel like I could’ve gone up to where those guys went. I know how the draft goes and I know all you have to do is get one team to love you. I know that the Eagles will take care of me and I’m so happy to be part of this organization. Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr are great players. I watched them on film a lot and there are some things they do that I try to take and add to my game. It’s just a blessing.”
The Eagles finished 20th in the league last season with just 32 sacks.
Smith has plans to help right away in this facet of the game.
“My expectations in Philadelphia are to win championships,” said Smith, who had 14 1/2 sacks last season for Louisville. “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.”
Smith is eager to get started and is looking forward to immediately improving on his skills.
“I don’t think I 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.”