Nolan Smith, DE, Georgia
You all messed up.
You all messed up really bad. If the Eagles have the 30th pick and Nolan Smith is still on the board, I would expect Howie Roseman to shut off every phone in the war room and sprint to the podium.
Let’s start off with what stands out immediately about Nolan Smith: he’s an athletic freak. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the Combine, he jumped 128” in the broad jump, and had a 41.5” vertical jump. That is good for 95th percentile amongst EDGE rushers in all the major categories. This athleticism shows up on his game tape, as he has elite burst and bend as well as the ability to completely blow by every OT you put in front of him. Smith’s blend of speed, agility, and explosion is enough to make a DC salivate. He’s not going to win with a bull rush or push an OT back, but he doesn’t need to do that to be effective.
Don’t mistake this for a lack of power, though. He doesn’t have the type of power that would destroy a lineman but he knows how to turn his athleticism into a devastating force. His burst and speed can overwhelm anybody he goes against. He also has strong hand technique that can pack a mean punch at the point of attack.
Smith is also extremely ferocious. His motor runs hot, he’s elite in pursuit, and he goes into every play with the confidence that the guy across from him won’t be able to block him. He’s the ultimate competitor who is not afraid to do the dirty work against players bigger than him, whether it be setting an edge or using his natural leverage to control a lineman. He plays with way more strength and toughness than you would expect from someone of his size. This all combined makes him one of the best run defenders in the draft.
There are typically 2 massive negatives I have read about Smith: his size and his rawness. I personally think these are both overblown worries. Let’s start off with the rawness portion: if the Eagles draft Smith they don’t need him to necessarily produce automatically. We currently boast an EDGE group of Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, Brandon Graham, and Derek Barnett for this upcoming season. Smith would not have to step in and produce immediately, and he would have a seasoned veteran in Barnett and a pass rushing aficionado in Reddick to learn from. Considering Barnett is in the last year of his deal and Graham can be considered year-by-year, Smith can develop for a year and then step into a huge role in year 2.
And speaking of Reddick, he seems like a very good comparison to Smith. Smith is an inch taller and basically the same weight as Reddick is now. Reddick was considered a raw prospect coming out of school and he didn’t have too much production immediately. He also has 39.5 sacks over the past 3 years. Don’t tell me that Smith is too small to be effective, he just needs time that the Eagles can obviously provide him to grow out his frame.
In the end, Nolan Smith just has that dog in him. He’s a relentless, freakishly athletic, extremely intelligent player that can absolutely tear up the NFL if put in the right situation and given a bit of patience. He’s the emotional leader of arguably one of the best college football defensive units of all time. Oh, and I forgot to mention he’s the former teammate of both Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean. To me, Philadelphia is the perfect place for him to go and I would highly consider choosing him even as high as 10. This is as close to a slam dunk pick as you can get and just makes too much sense.
Do you approve of this pick?
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2023 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Panthers (pheebthegoose): QB Bryce Young
2) Texans (Phoenix X Minimus): QB C.J. Stroud
3) Cardinals (alwaysaphillyfan): EDGE Will Anderson
4) Colts (eaglenomics): QB Anthony Richardson
5) Seahawks (The Player Formerly Known as Mousecop): DT Jalen Carter
6) Lions (Sam2TheMaximum): DE Tyree Wilson
7) Raiders (joey2arms): OT Paris Johnson Jr.
8) Falcons (Kephas): CB Christian Gonzalez
9) Bears (chewy wellington): OT Peter Skoronski
10) Eagles (Philly21): CB Devon Witherspoon
11) Titans (RachAttack): WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
12) Texans (Domonate): WR Quentin Johnston
13) Jets (JawnJam): OT Broderick Jones
14) Patriots (Amish Eagle Lion): CB Joey Porter Jr.
15) Packers (bdawk4ever): QB Will Levis
16) Commanders (the dog did it): OT Darnell Wright
17) Steelers (Dr.MidnightGreen): CB Deonte Banks
18) Lions (DreadPirateRocco): DT Adetomiwa Adebawore
19) Buccaneers (Neil Dutton): DT Calijah Kancey
20) Seahawks (wardbell92): DE Myles Murphy
21) Chargers (Brendanekstrom): TE Dalton Kincaid
22) Ravens (Rollinpin): RB Bijan Robinson
23) Vikings (FierceDisc65): DE Lukas Van Ness
24) Jaguars (Leo Bedio): DB Brian Branch
25) Giants (dkays): WR Jordan Addison
26) Cowboys (w.connell4): LB Drew Sanders
27) Bills (EHyungNim): LB Jack Campbell
28) Bengals (mainmanham): TE Michael Mayer
29) Saints (RiverCityEagle): DT Mazi Smith
30) Eagles (ablesser88): DE Nolan Smith
31) Chiefs (Hoosinole)
Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think should be selected in the 2023 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft.
Who should the Eagles pick at No. 30?
This poll is closed
OT Anton Harrison
OG O’Cyrus Torrence
WR Jalin Hyatt
WR Zay Flowers
RB Jahmyr Gibbs
DT Bryan Bresee
DT Adetomiwa Adebawore
DT Keeanu Benton
DE Will McDonald IV
DE Keoin White
DE B.J. Ojulari
DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah
CB Emmanuel Forbes
CB Kelee Ringo
1) Panthers: QB C.J. Stroud
2) Texans: QB Bryce Young
3) Cardinals: EDGE Will Anderson
4) Colts: QB Anthony Richardson
5) Seahawks: DT Jalen Carter
6) Lions: DE Tyree Wilson
7) Raiders: OT Paris Johnson Jr.
8) Falcons: CB Christian Gonzalez
9) Bears: OT Peter Skoronski
10) Eagles: CB Devon Witherspoon
11) Titans: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
12) Texans: DE Myles Murphy
13) Jets: OT Broderick Jones
14) Patriots: CB Joey Porter Jr.
15) Packers: DE Nolan Smith
16) Commanders: OT Darnell Wright
17) Steelers: CB Deonte Banks
18) Lions: DT Calijah Kancey
19) Buccaneers: QB Will Levis
20) Seahawks: DE Lukas Van Ness
21) Chargers: RB Bijan Robinson
22) Ravens: WR Quentin Johnston
23) Vikings: QB Hendon Hooker
24) Jaguars: DB Brian Branch
25) Giants: WR Jordan Addison
26) Cowboys: TE Michael Mayer
27) Bills: LB Jack Campbell
28) Bengals: TE Dalton Kincaid
29) Saints: DT Mazi Smith