DeVonta Smith Can Have an Instant Impact on the Eagles

Philly traded up to get Smith. What type of receiver did the Eagles land?

Despite winning the Heisman and setting college football on fire last season, DeVonta Smith wasn't the first receiver off the board. Actually, he wasn't even the first Alabama wideout drafted.

Instead, Smith went 10th overall to the Philadelphia Eagles, who moved up two spots to get him.

Smith finished his Crimson Tide career with elite marks in target share (95th percentile) and college dominator rating (96th percentile), according to PlayerProfiler. He is fresh off a 2020 season of 1,856 yards and 23 tuds. Whew.

The big negative with Smith is his slender frame as he weighed in at only 6-foot, 166 pounds at the medical combine. But that wasn't much of hindrance in college as -- per PFF -- Smith ranked in the top five in yards per route run versus press coverage in both of his final two seasons.

Will Smith be able to overcome the concerns about his size and produce as a rookie in 2021? Let's take a look.

Player Comparisons

numberFire's JJ Zachariason and Jim Sannes break down Smith's profile, and JJ gives his top comparison.

Brandon Gdula's draft database has found these 10 prior prospects to have the most similar statistical profiles to Smith. Keep in mind that these are based not on play style or traits but age, athleticism, draft equity, experience, efficiency, and production.

DeVonta Smith Profile Comparisons Similarity
AJ Jenkins 88.1%
Calvin Ridley 86.9%
Paul Richardson 86.8%
Will Fuller 86.6%
Marquise Brown 85.1%
Arrelious Benn 84.3%
Donnie Avery 84.3%
John Brown 83.8%
Roddy White 83.6%
Marqise Lee 83.1%

Gdula's Take: Smith's size (third-percentile weight among receivers in my database) makes him hard to comp, but we know what he has done despite the small frame. He ranks in the 99th percentile in receiving efficiency and is a top-10 receiver prospect since 2003 in my model even with the size concerns.

Smith's 2021 Fantasy Football Projection

Zachariason's initial 2021 projections for Smith include 57 receptions, 766 yards and 4.8 touchdowns over 17 games, making him the PPR WR52 for the season.

Smith should have a chance to make an immediate impact with Philly as the Eagles had a big need at receiver even after spending a 2020 first-round pick on Jalen Reagor. The 'Bama product likely jumps to the top of the depth chart right away, but it remains to be seen what kind of ceiling Smith will offer with Jalen Hurts at the controls.

The Eagles are listed at +8500 to win the Super Bowl on FanDuel Sportsbook -- the fourth-worst odds -- and +550 to win the NFC East. Philadelphia has a win total projection of 6.5 (with -143 on the over) on FOX Bet.