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Eagles draft linebacker Nolan Smith to conclude 2023 NFL Draft first-round picks

The Philadelphia Eagles not only walked away with one of the top defensive players in the country on Thursday night, but they also added a second key piece from the University of Georgia program.

Nolan Smith was selected No. 31 overall by the Eagles in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. A 6-foot-2, 238 lb. edge rusher, Smith was part of the 2021 National Champion Bulldogs squad alongside current Eagles; Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, and Jalen Carter. Carter was selected No. 9 overall by the Eagles earlier Thursday night after Howie Roseman traded up one spot from No. 10 to No. 9.

Smith missed half of the 2022 NCAA season due to a torn pectoral muscle but was a standout star in 2021 for Kirby Smart’s defense. He compiled a career-high 56 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles for the eventual National Champions.

In total, Smith started 23 of his 46 collegiate games, registering 114 total tackles, 11.5 sacks, and 21 tackles for loss. In 2019, Smith was named Georgia’s Co-Defensive Newcomer of the Year alongside linebacker Dean.

Smith also impressed at the 2023 NFL Combine, running a 4.39 40-yard dash which was the second-quickest time for a defensive lineman/edge rusher in two decades.

The Eagles continue their 2023 draft selections Friday night in Kansas City in rounds two and three.

You can follow Larry Henry on Twitter (@lhenry019) and e-mail him at [email protected].

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