YES!!! THEY DID IT!!!
I can’t believe it! Wow.
The Eagles were set to pick at No. 12, of course, before seeing the top two cornerbacks in Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II go off the board in the top nine picks. The Dallas Cowboys, clearly desiring one of those players at an obvious position of need, missed out and were surprisingly willing to trade down with a DIVISION RIVAL. The Eagles gave up their second third-round pick at No. 84 overall to move up two spots ahead of the New York Giants, who were a potential threat to take the Heisman Trophy winner. Sure enough, Dave Gettleman actually traded down for the first time EVER after Smith went off the board!
I’m so happy, you guys. Smith is the player that made the most sense for the Eagles, as we wrote about at length last week:
Smith was my pick for the Eagles in the annual SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft. Here’s the reasoning I gave, which sums up how I feel about Smith in a nutshell:
The Eagles should be thrilled to see DeVonta Smith on the board for them here. He was a potential consideration before they traded down from No. 6.
Had Jaylen Waddle been on the board, choosing between the two Crimson Tide pass-catchers wouldn’t have been easy. Smith is ultimately the pick, though, because there isn’t a world where the Eagles passing on the Heisman winner works out for them. Put simply, Smith is a stone-cold baller. Couldn’t care less about his weight. This is a complete receiver who dominated the SEC. Coaches, teammates, and opposing players alike have raved about his skill, football IQ, and will to win. Outlier physical frame be damned, he feels like a prospect worth betting on.
There’s just a lot to like here.
2020 Heisman Trophy winner. Top-notch production in the SEC over his final two seasons: 185 receptions, 3112 yards, 16.8 average, 46 receiving touchdowns. 11 punt returns for a 21.5 average and one touchdown. Shined brightest (more receiving yards and touchdowns) among other highly-touted wide receiver prospects (Jaylen Waddle, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III) in 2019. Versatility. Can play in the slot, X, or Z roles. Extremely competitive (he plays rock, paper, scissors on his own!). Praised for high football IQ and will to win. Two-time national champion.
Why wouldn’t you want this guy on your team?
Adding Smith to the Eagles helps to address a huge hole at wide receiver. Howie Roseman, as you know from me repeating it eleventy-billion times, have never successfully drafted and developed a player at that position. Smith has a real chance to break that streak.
The way I see it, this is a home-run pick.
Some might be upset that the Eagles didn’t draft Justin Fields. If he turns out to be a stud and the Eagles struggle to find a franchise quarterback, well, that could look bad for them in the future. But there were clearly some concerns about Fields that caused him to drop to No. 11, where the Chicago Bears (a team VERY desperate for a quarterback) moved up to get him.
For now, the Eagles are moving forward with Jalen Hurts and reuniting him with his college teammate.
Here’s a scouting report via NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:
While Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley is my NFL comparison for Smith, I feel like a better comp might be Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry. Like Curry, Smith is thinner than you’d like and isn’t the strongest player, but he has rare quickness, speed, and change-of-direction fluidity, and he creates separation from defenders seemingly at will. He possesses an elite skill level for the position and can hit the defense from short, mid-range or deep. Smith has quietly been the most complete of the receivers at Alabama over the last two seasons and will give an NFL team the ability to mismatch him against the weak links either inside or outside in coverage. He’s a detailed route runner with the athletic ability to really make them count, from a separation standpoint, and his ball skills are unquestioned. Smith has the football character, athletic gifts and upper-echelon skill level to become a long-time starter and Pro Bowl regular.
College stats via Sports Reference:
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Grade the Eagles trading up and drafting DeVonta Smith at No. 10
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Remaining Eagles draft picks
1 (10) - DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
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