The Philadelphia Eagles have made a move up in the 2021 NFL Draft and drafted Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith with the No. 10 pick. Philly traded the No. 12 pick and the No. 84 pick to the Dallas Cowboys to jump up and scoop Smith. The Eagles traded away Carson Wentz and there was some modest talk they might pick a quarterback. Instead, they boosted the talent around quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Smith had one of the best college seasons a receiver could imagine in 2020. As Alabama’s No. 1 receiver, Smith helped his team to a National Championship, won the Biletnikoff Award to college football’s best wide receiver, and the Heisman Trophy. He also added the MVP award for the college playoffs, as he put up a mind blowing 34 receptions for 529 yards and eight touchdowns against three of the best teams the college ranks could offer. Oh, and he dislocated his finger in the National Championship game, keeping him out of the second half.
13 games, 117 receptions, 1,856 yards 15.9 ypr, 23 TDs
Smith is 6’ 1” and weighs 166 pounds. Not many 6’1” guys can say that. There are plenty of concerns in the draft scout world about his size and his ability to handle the physicality of the NFL. It’s a fair question, but it’s also fair to point out that he’s still young and has a 6’1” frame and will come into the league ahead of the bulk of NFL receivers in plenty of areas, like route running, hand, work ethic and all the subtleties of playing his position.
If Smith we shorter and as slight as he is, there would be more concern, but his frame can take on more weight as needed. And in today’s NFL, offensive coordinators can spread the field and move players around to give them help getting off the line against physically imposing cornerbacks. Smith is a great wide receiver. He may take a bit more time to adjust to the NFL than some, but he should be worth any growing pains.
Fantasy football impact
The Eagles added to their wide receiver unit in a major way with DeVonta Smith. He will be coming into this season presumably as the Eagles’ No. 1 wide receiver. The 6-foot-1, 166 lb. wideout with electrifying speed won’t be a WR1 fantasy football option right away. But with his big-play ability, he could be a solid WR2/WR3 play with second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Smith appears to be the next great deep threat that the Eagles once had with DeSean Jackson. It remains to be seen what the Eagles’ offense will look like under the direction of head coach Nick Sirianni. If Smith can stretch the field and create those big plays in the offense, then he’ll for sure be a long-term WR1 play in fantasy football.