Cornerback Smith promoted from practice squad
With cornerback Leo McKelvin and his ailing hamstring a game time decision, the Eagles raided their practice squad, promoting C.J. Smith to the 53man roster Thursday.
The second-most famous North Dakota State alum on the team credited the most famous Bison, Carson Wentz, for bringing the scouts to Fargo.
Smith had a solid senior season as he ranked among the nation’s leaders with 1.54 passes defended per game, finishing with 16 breakups and four interceptions. Those were FCS numbers, though.
The way Smith remembers it, the practice field basically was littered with pro scouts stepping on each other’s toes to work out Wentz. When the 5-11 Smith lifted off with a 39-inch vertical, which is NBA solid, he was asked to hang around with Bison offensive lineman Joe Haeg. Smith and Haeg, who became a fifth-round pick of the Colts, wound up getting jobs in the NFL.
“I think Carson being there helped a lot because of the exposure,” Smith said. “It was on ESPN. There were a lot of scouts there. Why not stay and look at other guys, just in case? I think it opened up a lot of eyes.”
Smith felt his best chance would be with the Eagles, and he showed what he could do in training camp and the preseason. The 188-pounder demonstrated a knack for breaking up passes, and he had an interception in the preseason.
Smith doesn’t have top-end speed as he clocked a 4.51 at the pro day. But he has solid anticipation.
And not because of Wentz, who shook his head ‘no’ after hearing Smith wouldn’t have gotten to the NFL without all those scouts who came out to see the quarterback on pro day.
“I don’t know about that,” Wentz said. “He’s been a really good player for years at North Dakota State. I’m real excited for him and his family. And I know a lot of guys back at North Dakota State are fired up for him. I talked to him this morning and he told me the news before he tweeted it out and everything. I’m really excited for him. He’s worked his tail off. He’s come a long way.”
••• McKelvin’s hamstring is the chief concern right now for the Eagles, as it has kept him out of practices and sidelined him on and off in the previous game.
McKelvin hopes he’s healthy enough to be a game-time decision.
Pro Bowl defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, however, was limited at practice Thursday with an ankle issue. Cox was held out of the Wednesday workout. The good injury news for the Eagles is special teams standout Bryan Braman (shoulder) was full-go.
In Washington, Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) and rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson (Achilles’ tendon) sat out practice for a second straight day. Several players were limited including, among others, cornerbacks Josh Norman (wrist) and Bashaud Breeland (ankle), offensive tackle Trent Williams (knee) and defensive tackle Chris Baker (foot, wrist).
••• The Eagles signed tight end Anthony Denham to the practice squad. Denham (6-4, 236) was a 2014 undrafted rookie of the Texans out of Utah . ... The Pro Bowl voting has begun for the Jan. 29 game at Camping Grounds Stadium in Orlando. Wentz is on the ballot, as are Sam Bradford of the Vikings and Dak Prescott of the Cowboys.
Unfortunately you can’t even write Mark Sanchez in.