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DeVonta Smith Eagles
NFL

DeVonta Smith Proving Pre-Draft Criticism Foolish

  • Ryan Fowler
  • September 26, 2022
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Seven catches, 156 yards, one touchdown… that was all in just the first 30 minutes of work for Philadelphia Eagles wideout DeVonta Smith. For Smith, the consistent big-play threat and a first-round pick in 2021, not a single Washington Commanders corner could hold his lunch during Philadelphia’s dominant win in Week 3.

A talent that initially silenced draft doubters last year after breaking DeSean Jackson’s single-season rookie receiving yards record, Washington—as they’ve had a habit of doing for years—provided the pedestal for Smith to kickstart his sophomore season. He was uncoverable from the opening whistle. Washington was without starting corner William Jackson III and Smith took Kendall Fuller’s lunch all game long. Jalen Hurts’ top target throughout the afternoon, it didn’t matter if Smith was working over the shallow areas of the offense only to showcase his yards-after-catch ability or leaping over multiple defenders 50 yards downfield, he was fantastic. 

While Week 1 was an anomaly after the Eagles put up 38 points at Detroit but Smith failed to record a reception, Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia’s first divisional showdown on Sunday in D.C. highlighted a talent that has officially forced doubters to put their foot in their mouths. 

A Heisman trophy winner at Alabama and uber-productive wideout within an annually loaded SEC conference for nearly a handful of seasons, Smith has more than just come into his own as a featured target in the Eagles’ offense. Alongside A.J. Brown, whom the Eagles added during the draft to bolster Hurts’ weaponry, less attention on No. 6 has presented him with advantageous matchups early on this fall. That’s a trend that should continue as Philadelphia’s offensive playbook continues to expand—the game is, frighteningly, slowing down for the talented pass-catcher.

Washington had no answer for him. While Fuller or second-round talent Benjamin St-Juste won’t move the needle dramatically for anyone on the corner scale, everyone is in the NFL for a reason, and Smith’s ability to win his one-on-one matchups at times when Washington knew the ball would be fed to him was impressive—it shows the development of his deep bag of traits. Eagles fans, appreciate what you have in DeVonta Smith, a dynamic, legit perimeter threat whose skill set is everything but “undersized.”

Written By

Ryan Fowler