It was a surprise when the Eagles drafted Marcus Smith out of Louisville in the first round. He was seen as a project by many, and that's exactly what he remains through two weeks of preseason action.
"He's got a burst, he's got some speed coming off the edge. But if you're going to play that many plays, we're going to need more production out of you," Kelly said Sunday, via The News Journal. "(He's) still working at it, still got a lot of things to improve on. That's what the preseason is all about."
Smith converted to linebacker as a college freshman after playing QB at a Georgia prep school, so he's still learning the position's ropes. He has a great blend of size and speed, and NFL Media's Mike Mayock believes he's a "perfect fit" for coordinator Bill Davis' 3-4 scheme. The No. 26 overall pick in May's draft realizes he has work to do.
"I need to get my legs stronger and my body built so that I can run over some of those big guys," Smith said Thursday, via the Philadelphia Daily News. "Not just have a finesse game, but have a violence game, too."
Smith needs to get up to speed fast. In today's NFL, first-round picks are expected to contribute immediately, especially on defense. The defending NFC East champs can ill afford a lost season from their top draft choice.