The 2021 NFL Draft was unique in that it saw multiple quarterbacks reunited with their offensive weapons from college.
Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne were a Clemson first-round package deal to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow, once on the LSU Tigers, are now both on the Cincinnati Bengals, the NFL’s tiger team. The Miami Dolphins paired Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle with Tua Tagovailoa.
Of course, the latter wasn’t the only restored Crimson Tide connection. The Philadelphia Eagles created their own Tuscaloosa reunion by selecting DeVonta Smith at No. 10 to catch passes from Jalen Hurts once again.
Just like the old days.@DeVontaSmith_6 | @JalenHurts pic.twitter.com/AewNLvjOPd— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) April 30, 2021
Just how extensive is their experience together, though? Well, not as much as some of the other pairings.
Smith only had eight receptions as a freshman behind many other talented receivers in 2017. Smith then saw more action in 2018 but Hurts did not as he was relegated from starter to Tagovailoa’s backup.
Thus, there’s only a small sample size to go off of when projecting how the Hurts to Smith connection might translate to the NFL. Here’s a look at the numbers anyway:
2017: 5 completions on 12 attempts, 82 yards, 1 touchdown ... 2 first downs
2018: 7 completions on 8 attempts, 125 yards, 1 touchdowns ... 5 first downs
TOTAL: 12 completions on 20 attempts, 207 yards (10.4 y/a), 2 touchdowns ... 7 first downs
As you can see, Hurts to Smith wasn’t the most efficient connection when the former was a sophomore and the latter was a freshman. In fairness, they were both playing their age 19 seasons. Things improved for them in 2018.
It remains to be seen if their previous relationship will help the duo get off to a fast start together on the Eagles. The opportunity certainly won’t be lacking with Smith figuring to be Hurts’ best wide receiver option. Smith sure seems confident it’s going to work out nicely:
New #Eagles WR DeVonta Smith asked by @macongunter on @ChalkNetwork which young QB-WR duo is best. Burrow and Chase? Tua and Waddle?— Cody Benjamin (@CodyJBenjamin) May 8, 2021
His answer: "Me and Jalen."
For a sneak peek of what Hurts to Smith could look like in the NFL, check out this video that Birds & Bells put together:
Excited to see these guys get to work.