The Eagles are hosting yet another Penn State prospect on a top 30 visit in Philly leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft. It actually turns out that Nittany Lions linebacker Brandon Smith has already been to the NovaCare Complex, according to good friend Justin M.
Stop the presses! A linebacker?! The Eagles are finally showing some pre-draft interest in that position!?
It’s true. Although, at 6’3.5”, 250 pounds, Smith is bigger as an off-ball linebacker than a number of the edge rushers that Philly has been looking at.
Smith was one of the nation’s top recruits coming out of high school. He was a limited contributor as a freshman before moving into a starting role. Smith ultimately finished his time in Happy Valley with 132 total tackles (19 for loss), six passes defensed, four sacks, one interception, and one forced fumble.
Based on the reaction over at Black Shoe Diaries, Smith’s decision to opt out of his senior season seemed to catch a number of Penn State fans by surprise. He never really had the breakout year that they were hoping to see.
Smith’s projection to the NFL, then, is based on upside and potential. He tested incredibly well at the NFL Combine, especially for his size. But Smith’s scouting report raises questions about his instincts.
By meeting with Smith in Philly, the Eagles could be hoping to get a better gauge on whether Smith is worth taking a risk on. He may offer untapped potential but he also might just be a better athlete than football player. There’s thought that he could be a Day 2 or Day 3 pick.
Scouting report via NFL.com:
Linebacker who is likely to test better than he plays at the next level. Smith possesses five-star traits and is extremely athletic, but those traits tend to go to waste on tape. There is a consistent lack of fundamentals that leave him out of position or blocked on too many plays. He lacks decisiveness and an aggressive demeanor that are fundamental in becoming an NFL linebacker.
Spider graph via Mockdraftable:
Complete list of known Philadelphia Eagles draft visits
Penn State LB Brandon Smith
Western Kentucky DE DeAngelo Malone
Cincinnati CB Ahmad ‘Sauce” Gardner