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Marcus Smith knows he has to improve

It didn’t take long for Marcus Smith to realize how different the National Football League is compared to the NCAA.

Even in the preseason.

Smith -- the Philadelphia Eagles’ top overall pick at No. 26 from the University of Louisville -- had his first exposure to the NFL in the preseason opener at Chicago last Friday.

Smith’s learning curve has continued this week in joint practices with the New England Patriots.

The Eagles’ second preseason game looms Friday night against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

“I think I'm taking a step forward every day,” Smith told the Philadelphia Daily News. “I just want to keep getting better.”

Smith had 14.5 sacks as a senior at Louisville, but this level is much more challenging. He picked up that fact almost immediately.

“I've come to realize that speed, in the NFL, doesn't work as good as it did in college,” Smith told the Daily News. “You have to be a technician. You have to have all that down pat. Because that's what these tackles have. They've seen everything. They've seen speed. They've gone up against the great guys. So, when I come in here, that's what they use against me, and that's what I have to get in my repertoire.”

In addition to speed, Smith believes added strength will be necessary.

“I need to get my legs stronger and my body built so that I can run over some of those big guys,” Smith told the Daily News. “Not just have a finesse game, but have a violence game, too.”