Is DeVonta Smith a Top 25 Wide Receiver in the NFL?
The Eagles made a major move in the 2021 draft, moving from No. 6 to No. 12 then up from No. 12 to 10 in the 2021 draft to select Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith with the 10th overall selection.
They also added pick No. 84 in the third round to move in front of the Giants to make sure they landed Smith.
At the end of the day, Smith at a solid season for the Eagles, becoming the teams all-time leading rookie receiver with 64 catches for 916 yards and five touchdowns.
So where did Pro Football Focus rank Smith among his peers this season? PFF ranked Smith as the No. 23 best wide out in the NFL this season.
The Eagles utilized Smith as a downfield threat, as he generated the sixth-highest average depth of target in the NFL (15.2 yards). He held up his end of the bargain with the fifth-most deep receptions (12) of over 20 yards downfield. Interestingly, the 2020 Heisman winner dominated on hitch routes this year. His receiving grade and 298 yards on hitch routes both ranked in the top three among wide receivers.
"I think you have a number one guy in DeVonta Smith," said Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni on Wednesday. "I think he is a number one receiver, and he continues to get better. Why do I think he's a number one receiver? Because he can consistently win one-on-one, he can get the ball into his hands and make plays with the ball in his hand, maybe run a short pass. He catches everything. His competitive nature."
"I don’t think that there are a lot of true No. 1 receivers in the NFL, and I think we have one that is going to continue to get better."
Is he a true No. 1 wide receiver?
That remains to be scene, he certainly has intriguing skill-set that should only improve with more size and strength. The team needs to find more ways to get him the ball, Smith has more than seven targets just one time in his last 10 games this season.
Overall he was the third highest ranked rookie on the Top 25 list behind Ja'maar Chase of the Bengals and Jaylen Waddle of the Miami Dolphins.