The notion of “getting Philadelphia” or connecting with the sometimes fickle Eagles fan base is a big step in a player’s development. Some guys can’t seem to do it (see: Carson Wentz). Others achieve it on the first day.
For example, DeVonta Smith. The Philadelphia Eagles’ top draft pick (10th overall) recently shared a hype video featuring that infectious Meek Mill soundtrack to the 2017 season: “Dreams and Nightmares.” The short clip starts with childhood photos of Smith, including pee-wee football and high school images. It ends with the former Alabama star catching a touchdown, his Crimson Tide uniform super-imposed for a midnight green one.
Smith is expected to be a focal part of the Eagles’ offense in 2021. Head coach Nick Sirianni promised to move the 174-pounder all over the formation, so it’s easy to see why the Eagles traded up two spots — a third-rounder to the Dallas Cowboys — to take him. He was shocked and excited when he found out on draft day.
“When they traded up, I didn’t think they were going to take me,” Smith told reporters. “I mean, the interaction was just something I will never forget. They were excited and I was excited, and just overall happy to be a Philadelphia Eagle.”
— Michael Greger (@mike_greger) May 4, 2021
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Eagles GM Targeting Smith For Years
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman may be Public Enemy No. 1 in Philly these days, but he bought himself goodwill by selecting Smith. He was the impact receiver that everyone — fans, media, scouts, basement bloggers — wanted the Eagles to take in the first round.
So it was interesting to hear Roseman tell the 94WIP Morning Show that he had been targeting Smith since 2018. He was always the guy at the very top of their draft board.
“Obviously, DeVonta is a big-time player for us,” Roseman told Angelo Cataldi. “So, we were going to get this guy and make sure he got on our football team. We’ve got an offensive coach here. We think this guy is a difference-maker. What’s not to love about DeVonta Smith? This guy’s work ethic is legendary.”
Howie Roseman said on WIP that this play put Smith on the #Eagles radar years ago… https://t.co/mt3RneXn2K
— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) May 4, 2021
Giants Safety Takes Subtle Jab at Smith
New York Giants safety Jabril Peppers seemed to take a thinly veiled shot at Smith for landing with the Eagles. He posted a side-by-side photo of Smith and Giants top pick Kadarius Toney following their names being called on draft night. Peppers noted that Toney was smiling from ear to ear while Smith looked more like a deer in headlights.
— Giants Today (@NYGToday) May 3, 2021
The optics are funny, but Smith is ecstatic to be in Philly where he can reunite with his favorite college quarterback, Jalen Hurts. The all-time leader in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns at Alabama knew the Eagles were interested throughout the draft process. He can’t wait to get to work.
“I always felt they were kind of interested in me,” Smith told reporters. “We talked a lot of football, just seeing the way I learn and things like that, and then just talk about myself, try to figure out the type of person I am, type of player I am and then just get a feel for the coaching staff.”