The Philadelphia Eagles decided to trade with one of their division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, on draft night. The move led to the teams swapping positions in the first round with the Cowboys also receiving the Eagles’ third-round pick. As a result, the Birds owned the 10th overall pick in the draft. They spent it on Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith, the most recent winner of the Heisman Trophy.
This is the rare draft selection that is both flashy in appearance but also sound in justification. During his Heisman campaign, Smith led the entire NCAA in receptions (117), receiving yards (1,856), and touchdowns (23). He was repeatedly the hot read for Alabama’s championship team last year and dazzled fans with all kinds of highlight plays.
However, concerns about his body type and how it will translate to the NFL led to two other receivers (LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and teammate Jaylen Waddle) going before him in the 2021 draft. It’s been reported that Smith weighed in at only 166 pounds at the NFL combine which likely scared some teams away.
Eagle’s General Manager Howie Roseman, however, was not deterred in the slightest. “Good players come in all shapes and sizes, and so we’re not going to discriminate based on any of those things…” Roseman said during a pre-draft question about his process for assessing wide receivers.
This marks the second year in a row that the Birds have used their first selection in the draft on a wide receiver. The hope is that last year’s first rounder, Jalen Reagor, along with DeVonta Smith will mesh with quarterback Jalen Hurts right away. If these players can click on all cylinders, the result on the field would be an overwhelming amount of speed for opposing defenses to handle. It is worth noting that Smith has played with Hurts before during their shared time at Alabama, though the receiver’s actual gametime with Hurts was minimal.
DeVonta Smith is eager to prove that he is worth the investment the Eagles have put in him through a draft day trade. After being chosen he mentioned “Them moving up means that they see something in me that they want, and I’m excited for it. They’re getting a guy who’s going to come in everyday and work hard, and I’m ready.”.
The NFL draft will continue through Saturday, May 1st.