The Philadelphia Eagles spent a good deal of draft capital to acquire wide receiver, DeVonta Smith. Here’s why he could be this year’s version of Justin Jefferson.
DeVonta Smith was one of the most fascinating college football players we have seen in years. The Alabama product first started to turn heads a few years back. Despite being behind some prominent players on the depth chart like former first-round picks Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy, Smith was arguably the most impressive of them all.
In 2020, he proved why he wasn’t just another guy. The silky-smooth receiver exploded for 117 catches, 1,856 yards, and 23 touchdowns in just 13 games, according to Sports Reference – one of the most productive college football seasons from a wide receiver ever. As a result, Smith became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since Desmond Howard did so as a receiver and return specialist all the way back in 1991.
Part of what makes Smith such a unique player is his rather unusual build. The former Alabama star is long and wiry with an impressive wingspan. However, Smith weighed in at just 170 pounds at his Alabama Pro Day, and some claim that his playing weight was around 160 pounds. Still, Smith clearly had some serious skills.
When it came time for the NFL Draft, it was clear that the Philadelphia Eagles had immense interest in acquiring the impressive wideout. As such, they were willing to trade the 12th overall pick with the Cowboys to move up to pick 10 – leapfrogging the Giants in the process.
Why Eagles DeVonta Smith could be next Justin Jefferson
It isn’t overly unusual to see a rookie wide receiver burst onto the scene with a 1,000-yard season. However, what Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson did last year is almost unheard of.
With a mid-first round pick last year, the Vikings took one of Joe Burrow’s top targets at LSU in an effort to replace the departed Stephon Diggs. Needless to say, Jefferson did not disappoint. In 16 games (14 starts), Jefferson caught 88 balls for 1,400 yards and 7 touchdowns. It was one of the best rookie performances we have seen in decades – regardless of position.
Now, DeVonta Smith will have a chance to be inserted into a similar role with the Philadelphia Eagles. Like Jefferson, Smith is a long, thin receiver who can effortlessly pluck the ball out of the air and seems to glide with each step.
With a new coach head coach in Nick Sirianni and a new quarterback in Jalen Hurts, the Eagles will be looking for a new top weapon to lead their revamped offense, and they’re hoping that Jefferson can deliver, Based on everything we have seen from him at Alabama, I don’t think there’s any reason to doubt him.
While his unusually slim frame may have caused many teams to have Ja’Marr Chase as their WR1 last year, Smith will be out to prove why the Eagles made the right decision by trading up for him. With inexperienced receivers Jalen Reagor and Travis Fulgham, Smith could easily emerge as the team’s top pass-catching option in 2021. In fact, I expect him to.
Season’s like Justin Jefferson’s rookie campaign only come around every once in a blue moon. However, with a new offensive scheme and a young quarterback, DeVonta Smith could quickly become Hurts’ favorite target. The young wide receiver could be in line for a huge year.