Former Philadelphia Eagles first round pick Marcus Smith is out for two to three weeks with a hamstring injury.
The linebacker is expected to be back on the field before the Eagles’ season opener against the Atlanta Falcons on September 14, but to miss any preseason games at all would be a disaster for him.
Since being drafted in the first round in 2014, Smith has yet to make an NFL start and has only played in eight games for the Eagles. This isn’t something you would expect for a former first round pick, but the linebacker just wasn’t impressive enough to receive a starting spot.
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The 2013 AAC Defensive Player of the Year should at least be a starter in the Eagles defense this coming season, but missing time out on the field during preseason to prove you deserve a point could be costly.
Now Smith is out, the Eagles are having to cross-train inside 'backers Brad Jones and Emmanuel Acho and play defensive end Vinny Curry in a linebacker role on every so often because they are so low on numbers in the position.
I don’t see why the Eagles can’t just go for former Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs from the free agency, just to achieve some reassurance in the position. The 34-year-old would be more than capable of at least carrying some of the load until either Smith is back from injury or he is ready and playing like a starter should.
Smith has to perform this year, otherwise the Eagles will start looking for other options in next year’s draft. Missing preseason games won't help that cause.