Eagles First-round Draft Recap: Devonta Smith

Eagles First-round Draft Recap: Devonta Smith

Talk of the Tide: The Alabama Rookie with Most to Prove in 2021

Despite lighting the college football world on fire in 2020, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith has the most to prove in 2021
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He won the 2020 Heisman Trophy. He took home nearly every major college football player of the year award. He had the greatest season a wide receiver has had in almost 30 seasons and still, for whatever reason, there’s doubt. 

Two weeks ago, former Alabama star DeVonta Smith landed with the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 10 overall in the 2021 NFL draft, reuniting with teammate and quarterback Jalen Hurts. 

Of the six former Crimson Tide standouts taken in the first 32 picks, Smith probably has the most to prove during his rookie season. 

Think about it. 

Despite all his accolades, he was the third wide receiver taken behind teammate Jaylen Waddle and Ja’Marr Chase, who didn’t even play in 2020. The questions about his size lingered for the entirety of the lead-up to the draft. He’s now in a city that has a ferocious fan base that could turn on him if he doesn’t live up to his top-10 pick status. 

Since the Eagles’ Super Bowl win in February of 2018, the wide receiver position has been a disaster in Philadelphia so expectations are sky high for the Amite, La. native. His success will be closely tied to Hurts, who still has some doubters to prove wrong himself in year two of his NFL career. 

But that’s just how Smith likes it – wearing a chip on his shoulder the size of a few boulders.

Smith and another Alabama rookie, offensive lineman Landon Dickerson, who was selected in the second round by the Eagles received their jerseys numbers on Wednesday. 

Smith will don his legendary No. 6 uniform while Dickerson will start fresh with No. 51. 

Ahead of rookie minicamp, Smith commented on how his connection with Hurts could help him during his rookie season. 

“We always talked about the possibility of us getting back together, being teammates,” Smith told the local media. That’s great that it happened. We spoke it into existence. It happened and we’re excited… “It can only help so much. We have to continue that. Just because we had the connection in college, doesn’t mean that it’s the same now. We’ve both grown as players, we both have things that we’ve added to our games. We have to build from that and get better now. I feel like whatever we did in college has nothing to do with now because things have changed over time.”

The familiarity with Hurts certainly will benefit Smith and make the transition to the professional level a little easier. Smith was asked which pair of former college teammates would have better success in the NFL, him and Hurts, Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa and Waddle, or Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow and Chase. 

His response was cool and collected as he was during his time in Tuscaloosa.

“I believe if you ask Waddle and Tua or you ask Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr, they’re going to say themselves. I mean, that’s what you’re supposed to say,” Smith added. “You’re supposed to be confident about it. It’s just being confident. I believe me and Jalen will continue the connection that we have. That’s just the confidence we have it in. 

“If you aren’t confident in what you’re doing, you’re in the wrong business.”

And the Slim Reaper is in the right business.

He won the 2020 Heisman Trophy. He took home nearly every major college football player of the year award. He had the greatest season a wide receiver has had in almost 30 seasons and still, for whatever reason, there’s doubt. 

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