Get to Know Nolan Smith: Mock Drafts Love Him in Round 1 for Eagles

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Jason Kelce eagles 49ers vs eagles
Philadelphia Eagles’ Brandon Graham, Lane Johnson, Howie Roseman, Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce celebrate after the NFC Championship NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. Roseman, the once-exiled executive who was cast aside for Chip Kelly for a year, returned to lead the Eagles to the franchise’s only Super Bowl title is back again after hitting rock bottom in 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Get to know the name Nolan Smith very well. The explosive edge rusher out of Georgia has been rising up draft boards as the consensus pick for the Philadelphia Eagles in Round 1. Not at pick No. 30, but at pick No. 10.

Is Nolan Smith a fit for the Eagles?

Smith is a physical specimen who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. His numbers were off the charts: 41.50″ vertical jump, 10’8″ broad jump, 1.52 10-yard split, all while weighing at 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds. His 40 time compared favorably to NFL receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs. And his freak athleticism drew comparisons to Haason Reddick.

Smith seems like the prototypical first-round pick for the Eagles. He is insanely fast and disruptive for an interior defender, plus he knows how to expertly use technique and leverage. Wait, another thing: Smith has an incredible work ethic, something that second-year Eagles defensive tackle Jordan Davis saw first-hand in the classroom when they were college teammates at Georgia.

“You gotta get up and get better [every day],” Smith said in 2020, via The Red & Black. “If I have an opportunity, if I have a class at [noon] and I don’t meet till 2 p.m., then I have enough time to get treatment and come in and meet [with staff] a little more and get in my playbook.”

NFL Mock Drafts Love Nolan Smith to Philly

There are a plethora of NFL mock drafts out there and a good chunk of them have Philly taking Smith. CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin pegged the Georgia standout to them at pick No. 10, noting his comparisons to Haason Reddick as a “lean but lightning-quick stand-up rusher capable of moving around the formation.”

The Associated Press’ Rob Maaddi has the Eagles trading down two spots to to take the Maxwell Club’s Defensive Player of the Year at No. 12. Meanwhile, NFL Media’s Adam Rank has Smith going to the Birds at pick No. 10. He made an unfortunate reference to original “combine warrior” Mike Mamula, although he doesn’t see Smith living out the same fate.

The Ringer also put Nolan Smith in a midnight green jersey, citing the franchise’s tried-and-true philosophy of loading up in the defensive trenches: “The Eagles have had a lot of success living by the maxim that there’s no such thing as too many good pass rushers, and they grab a guy here who can figure into the edge rotation early in his career.”

Zero Character Concerns: Hard Worker

Nolan Smith checks every box for the Eagles, particularly when it comes to his character. He doesn’t bring any of the baggage that Jalen Carter – his college teammate at Georgia – does and everyone around him has raved extensively about his work ethic. In fact, Nolan Smith made a point to bring up how much he values putting in the “hard work” during interviews at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“I’m player-led and self-driven. You’re not going to have to tell me to go, I promise you I’m going to go naturally on my own,” Nolan Smith told reporters, via Dawg Nation. “I wake up out of bed, I’m juiced up, ready, just excited. Man, we play the best game in the world. I tell people man, don’t get down on yourself. This is an amazing game.”

AP Photo/Matt Slocum