Two interesting names stuck out on the NFL’s daily transactions report. The Eagles hosted linebacker Rashad Smith and defensive tackle Anthony Rush for workouts on Thursday. The team doesn’t comment on players until they are officially added to the 53-man roster. If signed, Smith and Rush would satisfy areas of need on the defensive side of the ball in Philadelphia.
Rush, of course, is no stranger to the Eagles having spent the 2019 campaign in Philly. The 350-pounder is a run-stuffer in the middle who recorded nine total tackles (three for loss) last year during nine games in midnight green. He was waived on Sept. 5 and latched on with the Seahawks where he made five tackles and half a sack in four contests.
The undrafted free agent “fat guy” out of the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) also spent time on the Raiders’ practice squad in 2019. The Eagles are thin at defensive tackle after Hassan Ridgeway suffered a season-ending biceps injury, plus Malik Jackson (quadricep) has been limited at practice.
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Eagles Host Ex-Cowboys LB Rashad Smith
Perhaps the more intriguing player to keep an eye on is Smith since the Eagles are in desperate need of quality linebackers. The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder went undrafted out of Florida Atlantic in 2020 but had considerable hype coming out of college.
He recorded 316 total tackles (31 for loss), 11.5 sacks, seven interceptions, two forced fumbles, and six fumble recoveries. Smith returned an interception for a touchdown in last year’s Boca Raton Bowl to close out his collegiate career.
Originally signed by Chicago as an undrafted rookie free agent, Dallas poached him off the Bears’ practice squad on Sept. 15. Smith is considered a rangy, do-it-all athlete who started 38 games in his final three years at FAU. He was the second-highest graded (83.3) coverage linebacker in the country, according to Pro Football Focus, and finished in the same conversation as first-rounders Isaiah Simmons and Patrick Queen.
Here is the scouting report on Smith, via Pro Football Network:
Positives: Undersized linebacker who flies around the action and sells out to make plays. Stays with assignments, fires up the field in run defense and wraps up tackling. Breaks down well, possesses good change-of-direction and chases the action hard. Remains disciplined with coverage assignments.
Negatives: Plays to his 40 time, displays average pursuit speed and does not look comfortable in reverse. More of a drag-down tackler.
Analysis: Smith is a hard-charging linebacker with average physical skills for the next level. He could back up on the inside of a 3-4 alignment, but Smith must make his mark on special teams to have any hope to make a roster.
Seven Eagles Miss Thursday’s Practice
The Eagles were missing seven players at Thursday’s practice including DE Genard Avery (elbow), DE Vinny Curry (illness), T Jack Driscoll (ankle), LB Nathan Gerry (ankle), CB Craig James (hamstring), WR Alshon Jeffery (calf), RB Miles Sanders (knee).
That list doesn’t include those recently activated to the 21-day practice window, guys like LT Jason Peters, TE Dallas Goedert, WR Jalen Reagor. All three were spotted on the practice field.
Meanwhile, three players remained limited participants on Thursday — DT Malik Jackson (quadricep), T Lane Johnson (knee, ankle), CB Cre’von LeBlanc (quadricep) — while rookie safety K’Von Wallace (neck) returned to practice in full. The Eagles are getting healthier by the day.
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