New Eagles receiver Torrey Smith says he hasn't lost a step

New Eagles receiver Torrey Smith says he hasn't lost a step

New Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith is just as fast as ever. 

Just ask him. 

"Absolutely," Smith said before he broke into a smile at his Friday afternoon press conference at the NovaCare Complex. "You wanna race? We can go do it. 

"All jokes aside, I can still run. I haven't lost a step. I think because I was a part of an organization in Baltimore and we had a lot of success early that people think I'm super old. But I was really young when that was happening. I'm only 28. I just turned 28 in January. I take good care of my body. I'm ready to roll." 

The out-of-shape reporter who fired the question to Smith turned down the challenge, but it's pretty safe to say Smith would have smoked him. 

The real question is whether Smith will be able to smoke opposing cornerbacks in 2017. 

After all, that's what the Eagles desperately lacked last season. They had just six passes go for 40-plus yards. Since he entered the league in 2011, Smith has 25 receptions of 40-plus yards. Just six players have had more. Eagles de facto GM Howie Roseman was quick to point out that while Smith is a downfield threat, he's also 6-foot, 205 pounds. 

When he came out in the 2011 draft, Smith ran a 4.43 time in the 40-yard dash, the fourth-fastest time for a receiver that year. And he thinks he still has top-end speed six years later. 

Smith comes to the Eagles on a three-year deal that's reportedly structured in a way that makes it more like a one-year deal with two team options. It's not hard to figure out why that's the type of deal Smith needed to sign. 

After signing a huge five-year, $40 million deal to go to San Francisco just two years ago, Smith's production dropped dramatically and he was cut this offseason. Smith caught 33 passes for 663 yards and four touchdowns in 2015. But then in 2016, he caught just 20 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns, all career lows.

"There was a lot of reasons for it, but only one I can control, so I'll just say me," he said. "But I'll just tell you this: I haven't lost a step and I can still play. So don't be surprised."

While he tried to hide it some on Friday, the last two seasons were tough years for Smith. He had two head coaches and the 49ers didn't feature him in their offense. 

He admitted it was frustrating to have just 103 targets in his two seasons by the Bay. The fewest he ever had in a single season in Baltimore was 92. 

"I probably grew as a player due to those frustrations, experiencing those type of failures because I didn't do what I needed to do," he said. "And I didn't play the way I needed to play. And I take full responsibility for that but it helped me be better while I'm sitting here talking to you now. I'll be ready for whatever comes my way."

There were a few reasons Smith decided to come to Philadelphia. First, he's extremely familiar with vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas and assistant director of player personnel Andy Weidl. Both were in the Ravens' organization when Baltimore drafted Smith in the second round out of Maryland. 

Smith said that familiarity was a reason he came to the Eagles because he's confident the team is moving in the right direction. 

"Torrey's a player I've had my eye on ever since his Maryland days," Douglas said. "We drafted him in Baltimore in the second round. I hope the city knows they're getting a resilient person, a great teammate, a person that shows up in big games when it matters most, a guy that's definitely going to help this offense, especially with taking the top off defenses." 

The other two reasons Smith cited for coming to Philadelphia were that the Eagles really wanted him (they tried to trade for him during the 2016 season) and the chance to play with Carson Wentz. Smith said he's already texted with Wentz and had a chance to meet Jordan Matthews at the facility on Friday. 

When Smith left the facility on Thursday after striking a deal, he knew there was a chance the Eagles would sign Alshon Jeffery and was pretty excited when he heard the news. 

Smith is the oldest receiver on the Eagles' roster, so he's ready to assume the role of being a veteran leader for the relatively young group outside of Jeffery. 

"One thing from [Steve Smith and Anquan Boldin], you give everything you know knowledge-wise so that that person that you're competing with can take your spot," he said, "but you work hard so it doesn't happen." 

After all, Smith hasn't lost a step. Just ask him.  

Eagles draft CB Rasul Douglas with 3rd-round pick

Eagles draft CB Rasul Douglas with 3rd-round pick

The Eagles doubled down on cornerbacks on Day 2.

The round after taking Washington's Sidney Jones in the second round (see story), the Eagles took a cornerback who can actually play this season, selecting West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas with their third-round pick (99th overall).

Douglas, who ran a 4.59 time in the 40 at the combine, had eight interceptions in the 2016 season.

The 6-foot-2, 203-pound corner was once a junior college player who became a first-teamer on the All-Big 12 team.

The last time the Eagles took two corners within the first three rounds was in 2002 when they double-dipped by taking Lito Sheppard in the first round and Sheldon Brown in the second.

This is the first time since 2012 the Eagles have picked a defensive player three times to start a draft.

The Eagles took defensive end Derek Barnett in the first round (14) and cornerback Jones in the second (43).

The draft will wrap up Saturday when the Eagles have five more picks in the fourth through seventh rounds. They have two in the fourth (118, 139) and one in the fifth (155), sixth (194) and seventh (230).

(More coming ... )

After getting letter from Eagles, Sidney Jones had 'feeling it would be Philly'

After getting letter from Eagles, Sidney Jones had 'feeling it would be Philly'

Eagles Draft Tracker

Sidney Jones had a feeling he would become an Eagle this weekend. He read it in a letter.  
The Washington corner was once thought to be a first-round pick; the Eagles were even considering him with their 14th pick (see story).
But at his school's pro day March 11, Jones suffered a devastating Achilles tear that dropped him out of the first round and right to the Eagles in the second round. They took him with the 43rd pick Friday night.

Jones thought there was a good chance he'd land in Philly because of a handwritten letter he received after his injury from Eagles senior director of college scouting Anthony Patch, who was in attendance at the pro day when Jones suffered the injury on one of the last drills.
"I thought it was pretty awesome," Jones said about the letter on a conference call with Philly reporters less than an hour after the pick. "Just from there, I knew they still had interest. … I had a feeling deep down. My agents were telling me stuff and I just had a feeling it would be Philly."
Jones, 20, said he received a few text messages from other teams, "but nothing like a handwritten letter."
Howie Roseman said the Eagles expect Jones to make a full recovery, but wouldn't give a timeline for his recovery.
"It's just a roadblock," Jones said. "It's going to be a good story at the end of my career. I'll look back at it as a positive. That's just how I'm viewing everything."
The Eagles are unsure if Jones will be able to play this season and despite tweeting that doctors told him he'd be ready for the 2017 season, Jones on Friday night said his plan lines up with that of the organization.
Even though he'd obviously like to play this season, he won't put himself in a situation that could lead to further injury.
"When do I expect to be back?" Jones said. "The plan is to not rush back at all. We're going to take it slowly … we're not going to rush anything. Of course, I would like to play as soon as possible, but there's no rushing."
Jones said it was an indescribable feeling when he got a call on his cell phone from a Philadelphia area code. As the Eagles' coaching staff passed around the phone at the NovaCare Complex, Jones talked to all of them as tears welled up in his eyes.
Throughout the entire process, Jones has been incredibly positive, at least in public. He credited his family for being his support system.
On Friday night, he chose to look at the positives: he still got drafted and he's still going to a team that really wants him.
After the injury, did he ever doubt his future?
"I don’t think there was a moment of doubt at all," Jones said. "I’m being honest with that. I’ve seen players come back from injury. … I’ve never had surgery, so this is like my first big injury. So, just looking forward to battling this and getting back and getting on the field."