Andy King/Associated Press
Brad Smith didn’t make the best of first impressions in Philadelphia. By the time he was picked up midway through last season, it was a little late to fully integrate him into the offense. Mostly what we saw from Smith were clunky Wildcat-type plays that had a tendency to backfire.
Don’t let last season color your opinion of Smith, though. He’s coming up on nine seasons as a dynamic playmaker in the NFL, and given a full training camp under head coach Chip Kelly, he could become quite the weapon in the Birds offense.
Smith already surprised by running with the first-team offense as the slot receiver over second-round pick Jordan Matthews during OTAs. Matthews is expected to pass Smith for that role well before the season begins, but even that small nod to the veteran suggests he’s in the team’s plans.
He’s not an every-down player, mind you, least of all at 30 years of age. However, Smith is a threat to catch the ball as a wide receiver, run with the ball out of the backfield or the converted quarterback out of Missouri can even attempt a pass.
Last season, which Smith spent a portion of on the Buffalo Bills’ injured reserve list, broke a string of four consecutive seasons with over 250 total yards from scrimmage. He’s also an excellent special teamer, be it as a return man or on coverage units, and is one of the prime candidates to return kicks this season.
It’s perfectly plausible Smith is a little over the hill now, and his best days are already behind him. Still, something tells me he’s going to look rejuvenated in this offense once he has it down.