Eagles Rookie Nolan Smith Unleashed: Perfecting ‘The Ghost Move’

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Newly drafted Philadelphia Eagles’ Nolan Smith speaks during a news conference at the NFL football team’s training facility, Friday, April 28, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

If it wasn’t already apparent that Nolan Smith was coming into Eagles training camp with a certified chip on his shoulder, it is now. The first-round draft pick went on Chris Long’s “Green Light” podcast to air a few grievances, strategically aimed at all the teams that passed on him.

Smith is preparing to make everyone pay in 2023, although he wasn’t quite ready to name names, or throw darts at the regular-season schedule.

“A lot of things stick in my head but, you know, that’s why I’m here because I always had a chip on my shoulder,” Smith told Long. “Sometimes I put it on myself and sometimes it’s an actual chip but this time it’s an actual chip. I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to play football.”

When Long asked Smith if the team that dissed him was on the Eagles’ schedule, he replied: “They all are.”

Process of elimination leaves the following culprits: Vikings, Commanders, Patriots, Jets, Cowboys, Giants, Buccaneers, Bills, Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals. All 11 teams picked ahead of the Eagles and skipped Smith. Also, the Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick in 2023 and the Chiefs selected after the Eagles.

Eagles’ Nolan Smith Working Hard on Perfecting ‘Ghost Move’

Smith has been buried in the defensive playbook since draft day and even demanded a PDF copy of it from new defensive coordinator Sean Desai. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder is determined to see the field in his rookie year, putting in extra work by staying late after spring practices and getting in the lab to perfect a new pass-rushing move.

Smith has been grinding the grease to mimic Von Miller’s patented “ghost move” under the tutelage of senior defensive assistant Jeremiah Washburn. The Eagles believe Smith’s insane speed – 4.39 seconds in the 40 – can redefine the stealthy football maneuver, from knife-through-butter smooth to white glove-through-caviar smooth.

“Really my speed to power and one that I really want to work on at home is my ghost move,” Smith told Long. “Really, me and Coach Wash have been working on it and talking about it, and trying to hone it in because I can bend and I can run and I can run and bend at the same time, so he thinks the ghost-rush move will be an excellent move I need to develop.”

The ghost-rush move is one of the hardest to execute in a live game setting, but Smith sounded confident about his chances of pulling it off. Josh Sweat – his new teammate in Philly – has a pretty good version of it. Smith has been picking his brain as well as learning from Eagles legend Brandon Graham.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 01: Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End Brandon Graham (55) celebrates a turnover in the first half during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles on November 01, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

“You can look at that m***** f***** like damn he ready to go,” Smith said of Graham. “I would say me and BG have the same type of motor, like we run off the same type of happy juice, energy-type guys. When I stay 30 minutes extra after [practice] I’m not working. In my head, I’m not working. I’m working to get better to accomplish a goal.”

AP Photo/Matt Slocum