By Lewis Gould
In official Washington, the definition of a “gaffe” is when someone unintentionally tells the truth.
It now appears that the same standard can be used by the Eagles because, according to defensive coordinator Billy Davis, the Eagles don’t seem to be in any rush to get this year’s first-round draft choice, linebacker Marcus Smith, on the field anytime soon.
Sure, Smith dressed for Sunday’s 34-17 season opening win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the Louisville product didn’t see the field for a single snap.
Meanwhile, a former first-round draft choice who has had scrutiny follow him his entire career after being chosen ahead of both Jason Pierre-Paul and Earl Thomas — Brandon Graham — flourished against the Jaguars notching four tackles and two tackles for loss.
On Wednesday morning, Davis bristled when he was asked about a timetable for Smith to see legitimate playing time.
“He’s not a first-round to me, or us,” Davis said during his weekly media availability. “He is a Philadelphia Eagle player who’s fighting for a starting spot.
“Once they come to us, we have no control over that. In fact, over time you don’t have any idea what round the older starters were drafted in. I couldn’t tell you. But what I can tell you is where he is in the current scheme of players that we have, he’s a Philadelphia Eagle trying to fight on.
“I don’t care where he was drafted if he was a fifth round pick, a third round pick or a first round pick, really, to us, during the season it does not make a difference. It’s can he play and can he help us win on Sunday?”
Davis pointed to the depth the Eagles currently have at outside linebacker in Graham, Connor Barwin, Trent Cole and Vinny Curry who have all had impacts both in preseason and the regular season opener as a cause for Smith’s limited snaps.
“That’s a very deep group in front of him that he has to crack through,” Davis said. “It’s going to be a challenge, but he’s a good, solid, hard working man and over time, he’ll be ok.”
It is worth noting that Smith’s natural position is quarterback and he only began playing linebacker once he arrived at Louisville as a freshman in 2010 and it’s obvious the Eagles viewed the 22-year-old as a project when they selected him with the 26th overall pick in May’s NFL Draft.
One week into his rookie season and it doesn’t appear the Eagles have any interest in deviating from their long-term plans for Smith, despite the fact that he was a first-round pick.