Eagles preaching patience with Smith

Just because Marcus Smith was the Philadelphia Eagles' first-round pick in the draft doesn't mean he'll start right away.

There's a steep learning curve from college to the NFL.

And the Eagles plan on being patient with Smith, a linebacker and edge rusher who was selected with the No. 26 overall pick from Louisville.

“Marcus is a very hard worker and a very intelligent guy and very athletic,” Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis told reporters. “So you have a bunch of characteristics that you look for in all Eagles players. He cares a lot about the game. He's picked it up fairly quickly and one of the biggest things that attracted us to him was that Louisville and Charlie Strong's defense is a lot like ours, and the way they used him is a lot the way we use our ‘Jack' position.

“So he comes in not as an end, a 4-3 end in college that we are converting to a 3-4 outside 'backer. He's coming to us as a 3-4 outside 'backer. The only knock is that he doesn't have much experience on the defensive side of the ball. So we see potential there for growth.”

Smith's growth will continue during his first training camp under coach Chip Kelly.

Smith recorded 14.5 sacks as a senior at Louisville and he was drafted by a team which desperately needs help in rushing the quarterback. Trent Cole led the Eagles with eight sacks last season.

For now, Smith's task is to soak everything up in training camp and prepare himself mentally and physically for a long season.

“I'm still learning the game,” Smith told the Philadelphia Daily News. “Even though I'm athletic and I can play it, they're teaching me the game a lot more than in college.”

Kelly's high-octane type of offense can be an adjustment for young players, especially rookies.

“We really run fast. Just can't get fatigued … a lot of times out there, I'm pretty tired,” Smith told the Daily News. “I've just got to get ramped up with all the veterans, so I can be out there playing … I just need to show them that I'm ready and I know everything that's going on.”

Getting acclimated during organized team activities (OTAs) helped immensely. The day-to-day work can still be grueling, but Smith believes he's coming along at a good pace.

“Maybe when I first got here, it was a lot of stuff,” Smith told the Daily News. “But now that we're in camp and I've had a few months to think about it and be able to read the playbook, I don't feel overwhelmed. I feel a lot more comfortable. Those first couple weeks, I felt it was just ongoing, and I couldn't get it down.”