As noted earlier, former Pro Bowl and All-Pro linebacker Kevin Greene has been at Philadelphia's training camp practices this week in order to work with the Eagles linebackers. Greene, who has the most sacks of any linebacker to play in the NFL, is an old friend and former player for Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis.
During his short time in Philly, it's clear that the Eagles first round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, rookie outside linebacker Marcus Smith II, caught Greene's eye.
I had a chance to spend some time with Marcus Smith, and just God-given, driven athletic ability and talent. He has a lot of potential. If he can just start believing in himself, believing in himself, and playing with his heart, I think he has the potential to be a real special player.
In an interview with 973 ESPN, Greene went as far to compare Smith II to one of the best 3-4 outside linebackers in the NFL: Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers. Greene, of course, coached Matthews as the Packers linebackers coach from 2009 to 2013. Here's exactly what Greene had to say:
[Smith II] is really a fluid, a real fluid player. He reminds me a lot of Clay [Matthews], having the opportunity to coach Clay the last five years. And let me say that he has potential, but potential, you know, that's a dangerous word that word potential. That's gotten a lot of coaches fired, you know what I'm talking about. Very fluid, very athletic. I can see that he can be physical when he wants to. Stick his grill up there and toss people around. Good range of operation on the field, his pass drops look good.
He has a lot of things to learn about the position. There's a lot of little savvy things about that 3-4 outside linebacker position that you know what, you can't force feed it. You just have to continue to introduce that stuff to young Marcus and then slowly and surely he'll get those up, he'll pick those up. All those little pre-snap reads, all the little nuances about the position. He'll start to increase his vision and he'll start to play at a higher speed. Like I said, he has potential to really be a special kid. It really boils down to a lot of heart. How much does that man want to stand out from the pile.
That's certainly high praise coming from an NFL figure such as Greene. It's possible he's just being nice, but perhaps there really is something more to the comparison between Smith II and Matthews...
|Marcus Smith II||Clay Matthews III|
|40 yard dash||4.68||4.62|
|1st round pick, 26th overall||Yes||Yes|
|Number in their name||Yes||Yes|
OK, so that's some selective data... but screw it. Next Clay Matthews.