Is Devonta Smith already Philadelphia's WR1?
Liz Loza & Eric Edholm discuss Alabama wideout Devonta Smith, who was drafted 10th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in April's draft. With a bare cupboard in terms of effective pass-catchers and paltry 2020 numbers, can Smith already be projected to lead the Eagles in targets and receptions?
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LIZ LOZA: Unlike his teammate and another member of the Ride Outs, as they were called in Alabama, Devonta Smith, because volume, volume-- another reunion, actually-- volume, volume, volume for Smith here, landing in Philadelphia. And the fact that Philadelphia made a deal with a division rival to also trade up and get Hurts some familiar weapons.
ERIC EDHOLM: I think he's going to be the number one receiver there. I really do. I mean--
LIZ LOZA: Oh, yeah.
ERIC EDHOLM: --I just don't know how you hold him back with that group. I mean, Jalen Reagor, obviously, I think will be better. He'll be better prepared. But he's the guy now. Don't you think? Doesn't it have to be?
LIZ LOZA: Yo, Eric, I'm going to ask you who you think-- which receiver-- no, which pass catcher period. Throw in-- lump in the tight ends.
ERIC EDHOLM: Yeah.
LIZ LOZA: Led the Eagles in targets in 2020.
ERIC EDHOLM: Oh my gosh. I'm going to have to pull some names out here. It wasn't Travis Fulgham, was it?
LIZ LOZA: No.
ERIC EDHOLM: Oh, it's the tight ends too. So that would be either-- it would be Goedert, right?
LIZ LOZA: No, Greg Ward.
ERIC EDHOLM: Zach Ertz? No.
LIZ LOZA: Greg Ward led--
ERIC EDHOLM: Greg Ward let them in--
LIZ LOZA: --led the Eagles in targets with 79. His yardage was not great. Fulgham made up for that. And then he also scored six touchdowns.
ERIC EDHOLM: Yeah. I mean, look, I don't know what you make of their whole group. They've got about 15 of them on the roster. And I think only about three deserve to get any playing time. But yeah, it's probably got to be Devonta, Reagor, whoever in that third spot.
LIZ LOZA: Yes.
ERIC EDHOLM: Either Fulgham, Ward, and the two draft picks from last year, Watkins and Hightower, I guess. Arcega-Whiteside is there. I mean, it's not a mess.
LIZ LOZA: Come on. I am like looking at my notes because I did a bunch of math on who-- obviously, those numbers are a little bit messed up because Hurts wasn't the starter until the end of the season. And Goedert was injured, and so there was certainly not consistency.
But Hurts has the rapport or at least-- I don't say the rapport because it wasn't that much overlap. But there is some familiarity with Smith. And as much talk as everyone is wanting to make over Smith's lack of size, clearly, the Eagles aren't worried about it because they traded up. Clearly, they felt like his route running was enough to make up for any physical deficiency that might be perceived.
And I think he is absolutely going to lead this receiving corps in targets. I don't even think it's like a debate. According to ECR, which is expert consensus ranking, not just Yahoo, but all of the platforms, he's the wide receiver 33 right now. And you have to imagine it's solely because of volume. Because we know that Hurts is not going to be leaned upon for his arm, but rather his legs.
ERIC EDHOLM: He's going to be in there, making plays. No doubt about it. He could be-- I guess it wouldn't be shocking to say he could lead all rookies in receptions, but-- with Chase being right there as well. I don't know. This is fascinating to me.
LIZ LOZA: I think I have Chase ranked slightly ahead of him because I think the overall offense-- like, I would rather have a piece of that offense than the Eagles. And also I don't know how good I feel about Hurts and Smith, both young players facing the Washington Football Team twice a season.