Eagles mailbag: Thoughts on Nolan Smith after quiet rookie season

Eagles mailbag: Thoughts on Nolan Smith after quiet rookie season originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Another day, another mailbag.

I answered a bunch of your questions to start off the week right here. Some good ones on a skill position addition, TE2 and more.

Let’s answer some more today:

Nolan Smith? What do you guys think? Care to plant a flag on whether or not he’s a dude?

— late_night_cheese_enthusiast (@defaultuser9999) February 20, 2024

Nah, not ready to plant a flag on one side or the other. But there’s no doubt that Smith’s rookie season was a disappointment. And it flew under the radar this past season. There were so many eyes on fellow first-round pick Jalen Carter and there was enough drama around a team that completely collapsed down the stretch, that the No. 30 overall pick who had an underwhelming rookie season didn’t steal headlines.

But Smith was a first-round pick who was absolutely buried on the depth chart in 2023. He played just 188 defensive snaps all season and 41 of them came in Week 18. He didn’t even see a big jump after the Eagles parted ways with Derek Barnett, which should have presumably bumped him up the depth chart.

By the end of the season, Smith had 18 tackles, 3 QB hits and just 1 sack.

There’s no doubt that Smith’s rookie season was disappointing but I’m not ready to write off his career either. This is a guy who has some really unique physical tools and there were some obvious flashes at training camp last summer. In a way, Smith’s impressive training camp makes his quiet rookie season even stranger.

And Smith’s rookie season makes this offseason even trickier. Haason Reddick wants a new contract and Reddick and Josh Sweat are entering the final years of their contracts. Smith should be a building block for the future but we just haven’t seen it yet.

While I’m definitely not going to make any declarations about a player after one season, I think it’s natural to wonder more about Smith after the…


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