DeVonta Smith is having a very solid rookie season. He ranks in the top five among rookie wide receivers in yards per catch (2nd), receiving yards (3rd) and receptions (4th). While he hasn’t burst onto the scene like fellow first-year SEC alum Ja’Marr Chase has, he has shown signs that he could be a very good part of the offense for years to come.
It’s easy and fun with young players to bring up a known current of former player, and compare one to the other to project a “ceiling” for the younger player.
Former Eagles wideout Jason Avant, who spent eight seasons in midnight green, was a guest on The Mike Missanelli Show on 97.5 The Fanatic Monday, a day after Smith pulled in three passes for 54 yards against Washington.
Avant was asked what player, past or present, could be presented as a ceiling for the Eagles rookie.
“His body type is similar to Chad Ochocinco’s… in the right system, in the right scheme, he can be a problem.”
“I think you’re going to have to figure out ways to manufacture offense for him. I think with the QB being Jalen Hurts, and still learning how to do some very complex offensive sets, it’s kinda hard for him sometimes to play stationary. Playing stationary at  pounds is not the most ideal situation for him. He can win most of the time, but you want to get him free releases and usually that comes with more game planned, high-level offensive concepts, and we don’t have that right now… as a young team.”
“I think his growth will happen, and I think a Chad Ochocinco is his style.”
Wow. It would have been easy for Avant to compare Smith to his former Eagles teammate, current Raider DeSean Jackson, who still has a similar build to Smith’s current physique. Ochocinco was a 6-time Pro Bowler, 2-time All-Pro who was among the best in his era.
While Smith has a ways to go to get to that level, you can certainly see that he has the skills to get himself open at the pro level, as well as the ability to come down with the ball when he’s not open, both hallmarks of Ochocinco’s career.
I feel like Eagles teammates and fans alike would be more than happy if DeVonta approaches Ochocinco’s level of excellence in Philadelphia.