The Eagles officially added linebacker depth to the roster on Monday. The team signed undrafted rookie free agent Rashad Smith to their practice squad. The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder was released by the Cowboys last week after starting the year on the Bears practice squad. Smith was a healthy scratch three weeks in a row for Dallas.
While it wasn’t the blockbuster trade everyone was expecting, the 23-year-old from Florida Atlantic brings great athleticism and speed to an Eagles linebacker group in need of a jolt of adrenaline. He finished his college career with 302 total tackles (31 for loss), along with 11.5 sacks, six fumble recoveries and six interceptions. Smith was the second-highest graded (83.3) coverage linebacker in the country, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Eagles also inked tight end Hakeem Butler back to their practice squad after waiving him on Saturday. To make room for the two newcomers, the team released receiver Marcus Green — tabbed an “all-purpose wonder” in 2019 — and linebacker Dante Olson. Butler saw just one offensive snap during his first tour of duty in Philly while Olson failed to get called up to the active roster.
Doug Pederson’s squad has a bye this week so it’s unclear how fast Smith can get up to speed. However, the 2019 Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl Defensive MVP should be able to at least compete for snaps with a strong showing. The Eagles will watch film before taking a few days off to clear their minds and heal up from injuries.
“I will give players and coaches some time at the end of the week to relax and sort of get away and spend time with their families like we normally do,” Pederson said. “We’re going to bring the players in on Wednesday. Want to work with the players. And we’ve got to get better.”
Follow the Heavy on Eagles Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Darius Slay, Malik Jackson Feeling Fine
The Eagles saw two star players — cornerback Darius Slay (ankle), defensive tackle Malik Jackson (quadriceps) — leave Sunday night’s game with injuries. According to Pederson, neither player is dealing with anything too serious and should be good to go after the bye week.
“Both those guys are okay. We didn’t have any significant injuries coming out of the game,” Pederson said. “This week is getting to us at the right time with guys getting healthy and those two guys should be okay moving forward next week.”
Loose Update on Lane Johnson
Meanwhile, Lane Johnson was downgraded to questionable and eventually ruled out versus Dallas just a few hours prior to kickoff. His knee and ankle injuries appear to be a lingering concern. Johnson was “trending in the right direction” all week but woke up with a swollen ankle on Sunday morning. Pederson decided to be extra cautious with the All-Pro right tackle. Jordan Mailata got the start there.
“It was unfortunate,” Pederson said. “Just woke up Sunday not feeling it, not there, and we didn’t want to risk putting him out there and missing him for more weeks in advance. It was just unfortunate that it happened, but I thought Jordan Mailata stepped in nicely, got the reps there all week, really with that position and did a nice job.”
READ NEXT: Travis Fulgham Makes Impact vs. 49ers