It remains to be seen who the Philadelphia Eagles select in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft tonight. In the meantime, here's an update on the team's 2014 first round pick.
According to Chris McPherson of team's official website, the 23-year-old linebacker has gotten stronger since the end of his disappointing rookie season.
"Smith was not only motivated by the lack of playing time, but by comments made to him by former assistant coach Tra Thomas. Smith's body was described as one that looks like a high school player, one that needed to be more developed. Thomas made those comments to Smith, but also relayed them to the media. Smith printed out the comments and posted them on his mirror to serve as a reminder.
"When he told me that, I thought if you're saying that then everyone else must be thinking that too," Smith said.
Once the season ended, Smith went to Atlanta to train with former Falcons defensive end Chuck Smith, who now trains players on the art of the pass rush. Smith returned to the NovaCare Complex for the start of the offseason program weighing in at 268 pounds, 15 more than last season. He also reduced his body fat percentage from 18 to 15."
Smith's name was recently mentioned in a trade rumor, but those talks haven't really gained any traction since then. Instead, Smith projects to be the team's third outside linebacker behind projected 2015 starters Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin. The Eagles typically rotate three OLBs, so Smith will definitely have an opportunity to play more than the 105 snaps he did in his first season.
Smith still has a lot of prove. Adding some weight and gaining some strength could be a step in the right direction.