CHIP Kelly says that rookie OLB Marcus Smith needs to be more productive. Despite playing more than 70 snaps against the Patriots, Smith logged only 1.5 tackles. While Smith wasn’t brought here to fill up a boxscore, spending a first round pick on him means they need to get him to make plays sooner rather than later.
Soon after this year’s Draft, Kelly pooh-poohed the idea that Smith might have been a reach. However with Smith so far playing like the early 3rd rounder he was projected as, you wonder if Kelly may be rethinking that stance.
I said in this week’s Breakdown: “Chip Kelly is about to learn the value of having elite talent at this level”. Specifically because his rivals have added some and he hasn’t.
So far in the last two Drafts we’ve shied away from adding any top shelf talent to the Defense and it’s showing. Defensively the last two Drafts look like: (2013) Bennie Logan, Earl Wolff, Joe Kruger, David King, (2014) Marcus Smith, Jaylen Watkins, Taylor Hart, Ed Reynolds, and Beau Allen.
You see any earth shakers there? Me either. In fact, all I see is one starter.
It is waaaay too early to call Smith a bust, or to even start that conversation; and NO that isn’t what this is. That is not being said here, so let’s not go there.
What is being said here, is that Smith was a reach who was graded where he was, (late 2nd -4th round) by most teams for a reason. His lack of production is indicative of that. Particularly because even with such a low grade, he was selected early despite plans to switch him from DE to OLB. (He was a rush LB in 2011, and DE in 2012 and 2013). Even by itself that switch-up is enough to classify him as a project; and you don’t take a project with the 26th pick.
Sadly, Marcus Smith is doing exactly what he should be doing under the circumstances. He’s struggling. I hope for his sake that he’s able to figure things out, before the “B” word starts dogging him, simply because someone else reached.