Coming out of college, there were some questions about how good of a receiver DeVonta Smith could be in the NFL. He’s not a physically imposing figure, at 6 feet tall and 170 pounds, but he’s an excellent route runner and someone very strong for their size. It took Smith a little while to become adjusted to being a second option behind AJ Brown, but over the last month, Smith has looked like that dominant pass catcher coming out of college.
At Alabama, DeVonta Smith was burning defenders on almost every play because of his ability to run routes with pinpoint accuracy. He has such a great release when he’s coming out of his routes and defenders have a hard time keeping track of him. As Smith has gotten more reps and gotten more comfortable at the professional level, he’s starting to dominate games as he did in college when he won the Heisman trophy.
A December to remember for DeVonta Smith
In 3 of his last 4 games, DeVonta Smith has over 100 receiving yards and 4 total touchdowns in that span as well. Last season, Smith only had 2, 100-yard games and 5 touchdowns, feats that he just about matched in December alone. Last season, the Eagles were the heaviest running team in the league, so Smith was criminally underused.
If he got as many targets as others players selected in his draft class, like Ja’Marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle, he would have put up similar statistics. Due to the improvements of Jalen Hurts and the passing offense, Smith is finally being used properly and getting the number of targets that he has deserved. In 17 games last year, he had 64 receptions for 916 yards. So far this year, he has 1,014 yards in only 15 games.
DeVonta Smith also is valuable in ways that a lot of other receivers are not. Because the Eagles like to run the ball so much, they often use Smith as a run blocker on the outside. He may not look intimidating, but he can move defenders out of the way when he’s needed to. His willingness to block at a high level makes him just that much more valuable to the offense.
When the Eagles drafted DeVonta Smith in the first round, many Eagles fans still had scars of Jalen Reagor and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. However, Howie finally got a wide receiver pick correct with number 6. After being inconsistent for a while, Smith has finally found his footing and established himself as one of the best second options in all of football.
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