NFL draft grades are a funny thing. For one, they're completely meaningless and arbitrary. It often takes several years to be able to judge a draft class. Yet, here we are, giving out grades less than 24 hours after the picks are even made. We demand -- no, we need -- instant gratification.
In our haste, mistakes are often made. Just look at the Seattle Seahawks' initial grade of "F" from the 2012 draft when they landed Bruce Irvin, who was "a reach", and Russell Wilson who was "a quarterback who doesn't fit their offense at all."
So maybe that's something to consider when rushing to conclusions. Many want to call the Eagles' pick of Smith a "reach" but the truth is none of us have seen how NFL teams had him ranked on their boards. Mock drafts are not a reliable way to know how teams truly have players ranked.
The Eagles' pick has earned some favor in the eyes of the fans so far. It's hardly an overwhelmingly majority but here are the results of our approval poll.
Now for the hot takes and draft grades from around the web.
The grade: C
The risk: Philadelphia moved down once to get Smith and frankly could have moved down again to get him. What's worse is Smith may not do a lot to improve the Eagles' pass defense, one of the worst in the NFL.
The reward: Smith's presence as a pass rusher makes quarterbacks get rid of the ball faster which will only help the defensive backs.
The Eagles take one of the more intriguing pass-rush prospects here in the long-armed Smith. He's raw in terms of developing a repertoire of moves, but he has the initial burst you like to see, plays with intensity, and understands how to utilize his superb length (34' arms) to beat bigger blockers. Serious upside here. GRADE: B+
How This Pick Goes Right:
A lot of people are going to call this pick a massive reach, but the Philadelphia Eagles needed a pass-rusher and Marcus Smith knows how to rush the passer with the best of them. Bleacher Report columnist (and former NFL defensive end) Ryan Riddle likes Smith better than some other rushers ranked highly by other analysts. He's an athlete, bends well and knows how to use his hands.
The skinny: Sure, it was a bit of a reach, but Smith's name had been rising up boards in recent months. They could have used a cornerback like the higher-rated Bradley Roby, but they addressed a need by getting an outside linebacker who can come off the edge and spell Trent Cole.
Strengths: Smith has the size to succeed off the edge and to move inside in certain defensive packages, but his primary value lies in his array of pass-rush moves. He can dip-and rip, move with inside stunts and provide surprising run defense for his size. He can also cover in space decently.
Weaknesses: As with most LEO ends, Smith will struggle against double teams and bigger defenders — he’ll need to stay free in space to be productive.