Eagles ‘Weighing’ Alabama WR Options, Jalen Hurts Comments

Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith

Getty Alabama receivers Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith are both expected to go off the board in the first round of the NFL draft.

Those Alabama kids sure do have a way with words, huh? Wise beyond their years, they never say too much and sound more like coaches when speaking to the media. On Monday, Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith addressed the media to update his measurables and take everyone through his draft-day plans.

Smith, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is expected to go off the board in the first round. Many experts have him pegged as the second-best receiver in the class, right behind LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase. The Philadelphia Eagles remain an intriguing destination due to their need for a big-time offensive playmaker, plus Smith’s existing relationship with Jalen Hurts. The two were college teammates in 2017 and 2018 at Alabama before Hurts transferred to Oklahoma. The dynamic duo has stayed in touch over the years, mostly they talk about non-football stuff.

“Me and Jalen, we talked recently,” Smith told reporters. “Just catching up, things like that. It would be a blessing for any team calling my name.”

The biggest talking point on Monday had more to do with Smith’s weight than draft status. The 6-foot-1 player revealed he’s tipping the scales at 170 pounds — normally, that’s light for a receiver — and he won’t participate in any field drills at Alabama’s Pro Day. Immediately, social media was a flurry with reasons why the Eagles should steer clear. For comparison’s sake, Chase is 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds.

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Hurts Pushing Eagles to Take Alabama Receiver?

Smith put up decent numbers with Hurts throwing him the football in college. He caught 50 balls for 853 yards and nine touchdowns during their two years together in Tuscaloosa. The Eagles quarterback called Smith a “smooth criminal” earlier this month on the Adam Schefter Podcast. He didn’t come right out and say he wanted the Eagles to draft him, but there is clearly good chemistry there.

“DeVonta Smith, he’s like a smooth criminal,” Hurts said. “Such a smooth route-runner. Attacks the ball, strong hands. Size, size is never an issue for him. He’s so strong with his hands. He’s a hell of a player.”

Of course, Smith isn’t the only Alabama receiver on the board. Neither is he the only one who played pitch-and-catch with Hurts in college. Jaylen Waddle hauled in 45 receptions for 848 yards and seven touchdowns with Hurts under center in 2018. Hurts referred to Waddle as his “little brother.”

“I just saw something about Waddle saying he’s different, and he is different,” said Hurts. “A great friend of mine, a little brother to me. What he can do with the ball in his hands, speed, his athleticism and high-pointing the ball. There’s nothing he can’t do.”

The 5-foot-10, 182-pounder might get drafted ahead of Smith depending on which mock draft you look at. Smith and Waddle, along with Chase, are the three best receivers in this draft class.

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Don’t Forget About Kyle Pitts

While the masses (read: Eagles fans) want a receiver in the first round, many experts think Philly will select a tight end. Florida’s Kyle Pitts looks like the most physically gifted tight end to enter the draft in decades, so he deserves strong consideration at pick No. 6. The latest analyst to jump on the Pitts’ bandwagon is Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus. Here is what he wrote:

Zach Ertz will likely be traded this offseason, potentially before the draft on April 29. Kyle Pitts and Dallas Goedert will form the new unstoppable tight end duo for the Eagles. Pitts’ season at Florida was nothing short of remarkable — he put up 17.9 yards per reception and was deployed all over the field. His 59 snaps lined up out wide was third among all tight ends, and he’s a willing inline blocker, as well.

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