You have probably seen the videos of furious Giants fans on draft night after the Eagles traded up to draft DeVonta Smith.
Well, Smith has seen them too.
“They’re all funny,” Smith said this week. “Overall, I’m glad to be a Philadelphia Eagle. Glad to be here.”
For the Giants, Smith is the one that got away.
And this Sunday at MetLife Stadium will be the rookie receiver’s first chance to show the division rival what they’re missing.
The Eagles initially held the No. 6 pick in the draft but traded down to No. 12 with the Dolphins and pocketed a 2022 first-rounder in the process. But as the draft began on April 29, it didn’t look likely that Smith was going to last beyond the Giants’ pick at No. 11.
So the Eagles did something peculiar. They called the rival Cowboys and traded with them to get No. 10, right in front of the Giants.
The Giants then traded out of the pick, all the way down to No. 20.
It isn’t much of a secret that the Heisman Trophy winner nearly ended up with the Giants. The Eagles stole him.
“I’m glad that we traded up because he’s really special to this team,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said to New York reporters on a conference call this week, “and I’m sure glad we have him on this football team.”
Smith, 23, has been as advertised in his rookie season. He is the Eagles’ leading receiver with 46 catches for 664 yards and 4 touchdowns. He’s on pace for a 1,000-yard season, which would also top the Eagles’ rookie record set by DeSean Jackson back in 2008.
Meanwhile, the guy the Giants ended up drafting, Kadarius Toney, has had an OK rookie season. He had one mega game against the Cowboys earlier in the season with 189 yards receiving but has 40 yards or fewer in seven of his nine games.
Sure, there have been some ups and downs for Smith too throughout his rookie season but he’s had two 100-yard games as well. And he’s already proven to be tough, reliable, athletic and savvy beyond his years.
“His receiving skills are up there with anybody in the league we’ve seen so far,” Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said to reporters on Friday. “I’ve been very impressed. Unfortunately we’re gonna have to deal with him for whatever many years on his contract in this division.”
Yup, the Giants will see Smith twice per season for at least the next four or five seasons. That means a minimum of 8-10 games against them. Plenty of opportunities to become a thorn in the side of an organization that has been on the wrong side of this division rivalry for a while.
It’s a rivalry Smith has learned about since he arrived in Philadelphia.
“That it’s pretty big,” Smith said. “That the stuff that I’ve seen on social media, them going back and forth, it means a lot to the people around here.”
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