The Eagles fanbase has had a tough time getting over the exodus of DeSean Jackson from last season. It also didn't help that Jackson signed with the rival team in Washington. That said, the Eagles saw Jeremy Maclin emerge as a true No. 1 wide receiver. Still, the Eagles struggled to find big play threats outside of Maclin and Darren Sproles and could use a field-stretcher next season.
The Eagles excelled in 2013 with the ability to spread out the defense and Nick Foles was able to get the ball downfield to Jackson with consistency. Foles continued to target Maclin on big plays, but having another speedster out there would have likely made the offense that much more fluid. Ohio State's Devin Smith could be the threat that the Eagles lacked last season.
At native of Massillon, Ohio, Smith was recruited to Ohio State and committed in 2011. In 13 games as a true freshman, Smith collected 14 catches for 294 yards (21 YPC) and four touchdowns. As a sophomore, Smith produced 30 catches for 618 yards (20.6 YPC) and six touchdowns in 13 games (10 starts).
In his junior year, Smith caught 44 passes for 660 yards (15 YPC) and eight touchdowns. In his final year at Ohio State, Smith exploded for 33 catches for 931 yards and 12 touchdowns on the National Championship team. He averaged an astounding 28.2 yards per catch as a senior. He finished his career with 121 receptions for 2,503 receiving yards (20.6 YPC) and 30 touchdowns.
He was invited to the Senior Bowl and participated in practices and the game.
Smith is 6-foot and 190 pounds, so he has average size at the position. He has terrific hands and very quick feet. He is unafraid of contact and is a willing blocker. He will go up for the ball in the air and has an elite ability to track the ball while running downfield. He has incredible ball skills and will come up with the catch in tight coverage. He has the ability to use his speed to get behind double coverage and averaged more than 20 yards per catch at the college level. He excelled as a gunner in punt coverage.
Smith could afford to get bigger at the next level. He may struggle against press coverage and he could improve his ability to block. He seems too dependent on posts and deep speed routes and could improve his intermediate route running.
Smith is a more physical Jackson with a lack of character issues. While spending a second round pick on a pass catcher for the third-straight year may be a bit much, Smith is probably worth it. He would allow the offense to be more spread out and give other offensive players room to shine. The Eagles may not have a second round pick (if they trade up for a quarterback or another position) but if they do, Smith would be an excellent option.