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NFL Draft Results: Eagles unexpectedly land Nolan Smith at No. 30


Arkansas v Georgia Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

With the 30th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select ... NOLAN SMITH, EDGE RUSHER, GEORGIA.

Jalen Carter AND Nolan Smith!?!?!!?

I can’t believe this is real life.

Smith was who I wanted the Birds to select at No. 10 overall; I made the case for them to take him there assuming Carter wouldn’t be available to them.

For as much as the Eagles value offensive linemen, they’re also wont to invest premium resources in their pass rush.

There are some questions about how Smith projects to the NFL considering his size. But he’s only an inch shorter and eight pounds lighter than Micah Parsons’ listed measurements from the NFL Combine. Smith’s actually an inch taller than Haason Reddick and just two pounds lighter. There’s reason to believe he can follow in their footsteps and utilize his elite athleticism to wreak havoc as both a pass rusher and run defender.

There’s also reason to believe in his character. The Eagles have made good bets on prospects like this in recent years. Jalen Hurts is a dog. DeVonta is a dog. Those are just two examples of dudes you do not want to bet against. They ooze Big Winner Energy. By all accounts, Smith checks all the boxes in that regard. Just look at the intensity and passion he plays with. He’s fearless. That’s a guy you want on your team.

This pick would immediately fit in as part of the Eagles’ pass rush rotation. Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham, Nolan Smith? That’s a pretty good group.

That Smith fell further than expected requires on to wonder why exactly that was the case. But the Eagles may have capitalized on other teams being mistaken for passing on him.

The Birds now have four members of one of the greatest college defenses of all time on their roster. Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith, Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean!

Here’s a scouting report via’s Lance Zierlein:

Lower weight class edge defender with the toughness to mix it up with bigger players. Based purely upon his sleek but smallish frame, one might expect him to be more effective as a rusher than run defender but the opposite is true. Smith is hard to move off of his spot due to his technique and leverage, and he can be disruptive when firing into gaps. He can get off the mark as a rusher, but lacks the counters and contact balance to consistently assault the pocket at a high rate. Smith falls below the size standards some team might have for a 3-4 outside linebacker, but he plays team-first defense with quality technique that should help him translate to the pros.

College stats via Sports Reference:


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Remaining Eagles draft picks

1 (9) - DT Jalen Carter

1 (30) - DE Nolan Smith

2 (62)

3 (66)

7 (219)

7 (248)

Remaining Eagles needs

Running back




DraftKings Sportsbook

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