Nolan Smith

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Nolan Smith Was Selected 30th Overall By The Eagles In The 2023 NFL Draft

Nolan Smith

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Thursday night, the Eagles selected Georgia EDGE rusher Nolan Smith with the 30th overall selection of the 2023 NFL Draft. The selection comes after the Eagles selected Jalen Carter, Smith’s teammate, with the ninth overall decision.

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Smith will join Carter, Jordan Davis, and Na’abe Dean, all former Bulldogs, on the Eagles.

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Nolan Smith is a touch undersized for a pass rusher at 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds, but he is a quick-twitch athlete who plays much larger than his size.

Smith played in eight games for the Bulldogs last year and recorded 18 tackles and three sacks. Last year, he suffered a ruptured pectoral muscle that ended his season.

Lightweight edge defender with the tenacity to compete with larger players. On the basis of his slender, diminutive physique, one might assume that he is more effective as a rusher than as a run defender, but the opposite is true.

Smith is difficult to displace due to his technique and leverage, and his launching into gaps can be disruptive. As a rusher, he can get off the line, but he lacks the counters and contact balance to consistently attack the pocket at a high rate.

Smith does not meet the stature requirements some teams may have for a 3-4 outside linebacker, but he plays a team-first defense with a solid technique that should help him transition to the pros.

During the draft process, comparisons between Smith and Eagles pass rusher Haason Reddick have been made.

Since 2003, Smith was the heaviest NFL combine participant with a 40-inch vertical leap and sub-4.40-second 40-yard sprint time.

With the additions of Smith and Carter to the Eagles’ defensive front, they are now poised for success next season and in the long run.

Smith will rotate with Reddick, Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham, and Tarron Jackson in the EDGE rushing rotation.

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