DeVonta Smith is no longer a rookie but even as he starts to prepare for Year 2, he’s going to be the centerpiece of a very young Eagles receivers room.
Smith, 23, would welcome a veteran in that room.
John Clark caught up with Smith out in Los Angeles, the site of Super Bowl LVI, to talk about a bunch of different topics, including his connection with Jalen Hurts, the NBA and his indifference to cheesesteaks on the latest Takeoff with John Clark podcast.
But this answer about the Eagles’ possibly adding a veteran receiver this offseason stood out to me:
“I feel like it would help,” Smith said. “Somebody that’s already been there. I know it would help for me, just being under their wing, how they operate, how they are as a pro.”
The Eagles have seven receivers on their roster and the oldest of the bunch is Greg Ward at 26. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, John Hightower and Deon Cain are all 25. And Smith, Quez Watkins and Jalen Reagor are all still just 23.
The Eagles’ top three receivers in 2021 were the 23-year-olds: Smith, Watkins and Reagor. After the season, Nick Sirianni spelled out the pecking order like that: Smith is the 1, Watkins the 2 and Reagor the 3. While Sirianni really seems to believe in Watkins’ ability as a No. 2 receiver in the NFL, the Eagles might really benefit from adding a veteran free agent receiver this offseason.
And there are going to be plenty of good ones available, including DaVante Adams, Mike Williams, Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, Michael Gallup, Odell Beckham Jr., Christian Kirk and more.
Smith is already more advanced than most receivers his age and coming off just one NFL season, but he’d also be willing to learn from a veteran if the Eagles add one. That alone might make it worth it. Ward became the de facto leader in the receiver room in 2021, which was OK, but he’s a deep reserve who didn’t even play the position in college.
In addition to the question about a veteran receiver, Clark hit Smith with plenty of rapid fire questions throughout the interview. Here were a few other takeaways:
• During this playoff run, Smith and Jalen Hurts have watched the success longtime teammates Joe Burrow and JaMarr Chase have had with the Bengals and they want that to be them.
“You see those guys, what they’ve done,” Smith said. “You see that and that’s where you want to be. Eventually, we’re going to get there.”
• Smith thinks Hurts has what it takes to be the Eagles’ franchise quarterback: “Most definitely. He’s that guy. You want somebody that’s not going to run away from anything they do wrong. He makes a mistake, he owns up to it and he corrects it. That’s the type of guy that you want.”
• Smith called himself the best basketball player on the team and then listed his starting five from the Eagles’ locker room.
Check out the full podcast, which includes additional interviews with Rodney McLeod and Michael Irvin, here:
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