When former Philadelphia Eagles first-round pick Marcus Smith was officially released by Seattle late last week, the news drew some surprise from Seahawks fans. As it turns out, the team’s decision wasn’t entirely performance related.
When the #Seahawks released former #Eagles first-round pick Marcus Smith, they said it was for personal reasons. My understanding is Smith is leaning towards retirement after just four seasons. He was not fully committed to playing in 2018.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 20, 2018
This would certainly be an early retirement for the Eagles’ 2014 first-round pick. Smith only turned 26 years old back in March.
If Smith is truly done, he’ll have finished his NFL career with 20 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and one pass deflection in 51 games played (zero starts). He was clearly a reach in the first round but that’s not very good production for even a Day 2 pick.
The blame for the Eagles drafting Smith often shifted back and forth between Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman. Roseman ultimately took ownership of the decision back in 2016.
The short version of why the Eagles picked Smith goes back to the Eagles entering the 2014 NFL Draft with six targets in mind at pick No. 22. When all of those went off the board, the Eagles traded back to No. 26. They were going to trade back again but Dee Ford getting selected by the Chiefs made the Eagles feel pressured into reaching for a pass rusher. The Eagles’ hastiness clearly didn’t pay off. Lesson learned: don’t reach and instead aim for selecting the best player available.
Smith (rightfully) drew the ire of Eagles fans when he took to Twitter to taunt his old team after the Seahawks beat Philadelphia during the 2017 regular season. That was a dumb look.
Putting that moment aside, I never had any bad encounters with Smith in my experience around him while covering the team. I always thought he was very accountable. It would’ve been easy for him to try to duck the media (like Danny Watkins did) but he didn’t.
In any case, it looks like Smith is joining Watkins in retirement. Nice guy or not, the Louisville alumnus will go down in history as one of the franchise’s biggest draft mistakes.