April 28, 2023
With the 30th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith.
Smith was a highly rated prospect coming out of high school (2nd in the nation, via Rivals), who had the best SPARQ rating in his recruiting class. That means that he's an incredible athlete, in case you're unfamiliar with SPARQ. He also crushed the Combine, running an absurd 4.39 40 and vertical jumping 41 1/2" at 238 pounds.
Compare those numbers to Micah Parsons, for example:
|Measurable||Micah Parsons||Nolan Smith|
|Arm length||31 1/2"||32 5/8"|
|Vertical jump||34"||41 1/2"|
The Eagles love moldable athletes in the draft, like Jordan Davis, Milton Williams, Jalen Reagor, Davion Taylor, Jack Driscoll, Casey Toohill, Andre Dillard, Avonte Maddox, Josh Sweat, etc. Obviously, some mixed results there. But Smith isn't just an athlete. He is also a physical run defender willing to set the edge so that his teammates can collect tackles, and in viewing a number of his interviews it's pretty easy to see that he's going to be culture fit in any locker room. For example:
You don't win back to back championships without leaders like this.— David Pollack (@davidpollack47) March 15, 2023
video via @jontweetssports pic.twitter.com/lokMjql64S
Smith had an immediate role in Georgia's defense as a true freshman, but his production has left something to be desired. 2021 was been his best year, as he had 53 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one INT, and three forced fumbles. Some highlights:
An easy comparison for Smith throughout the draft process has be Haason Reddick. Of course, the Eagles already employ Haason Reddick, so where would Smith fit in? I think the answer is, it doesn't matter. Just go get that guy on your roster and figure out how to get him on the field in a position to make plays. Maybe that's at the WILL spot initially on the other side of the field from Reddick? But at pick 30, Smith has a chance to be an absolute steal.
Follow Jimmy & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @JimmyKempski | @thePhillyVoice
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports
Add Jimmy's RSS feed to your feed reader