When Chip Kelly stood on the Temple side of the field as a spectator in a football game against Louisville, many people thought he was looking at safety Calvin Pryor or quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Almost nobody saw him glancing at Marcus Smith, the hybrid defensive end/linebacker who he eventually took with the No. 26 pick in the first round of Thursday night’s NFL Draft.
Do not even wait for three or four years to determine the viability of this pick, because it is failure on so many levels already. Kelly swung and missed on this one. Karma does not like liars, and both Kelly and the Eagles lied about this pick. For months leading up to the draft, both Kelly and GM Howie Roseman swore up and down on a stack of bibles that the Eagles “would pick the best available player, regardless of position.”
Smith, a projected second or third-rounder, was far from the best available player. In fact, he sounds suspiciously like he could turn out to be a low-impact pick that past Eagle choices Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry turned out to be at the same position.
At No. 22, Johnny Manziel was sitting there all set up for him to hit out of the park like a B.J. Rosenberg fastball. (For those who do not know Rosenberg, earlier this year he became the first member of the Philadelphia Phillies in over 100 years to give up three homers in the same inning.) After all, when your team is one disastrous hit away from either Mark Sanchez or Matt Barkley, Manziel or even Bridgewater deserve serious consideration.
If the Eagles really wanted to go defense, a top 10 defender, Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard was available at No. 22 and, by all accounts, is a shutdown defender. The Eagles did not need to trade down.
Against Temple, Smith had three solo tackles, one sack and one assist, and after watching that, Kelly decided he wanted Smith above a Heisman Trophy winner and a shutdown top 10 corner. Sounds like the Eagles have drafted Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry all over again.