Many prognosticators believed the Eagles could have gotten the Louisville linebacker in the second or third round.
But the Eagles needed an edge rusher and they’re anxiously anticipating how he’ll perform when players report to training camp on Friday.
“He hasn't played the position much,” Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “So one of the things we did see about Marcus was you have a good man that works hard at it, loves football, and has a good football IQ. He's got the athleticism.”
Smith registered 14.5 sacks as a senior with the Cardinals, and the Eagles are hoping to see that same production on the NFL level.
“I think the advantage was this year we saw a guy (who could) stand up,” outside linebackers coach Bill McGovern told the Inquirer. “We saw him do some of the things in college where we hadn't seen maybe some of the other guys a year ago do it.”
Veteran Trent Cole led the Eagles with eight sacks last season.
Clearly, an upgrade was needed.
“Our demand for the position will always be to have pass rushers there,” McGovern told the Inquirer. “I think Trent did a great job in the second half of the season. Connor [Barwin] when asked, delivered at times. [Brandon Graham] came in and delivered at times. It's more on a consistent basis.”
Smith realizes how much work lies ahead. And he’s ready to get started.
“That's the one area I do feel comfortable in,” Smith said. “I still have a lot of work to do, but when we start pass rushing, I think I'll be OK.”