Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith is widely considered the team’s second-best receiver after A.J. Brown, but after being blanked in the season opener, Smith has led the team’s receivers two weeks in a row with 80 and 169 yards, respectively.
“Like I always tell you all, you’ve got to make the most of your opportunities, know what I mean?” Smith said in a September 25 postgame press conference after the Eagles beat the Washington Commanders 24-8. “You might have a game like that, where you don’t get the ball, you don’t get your opportunities, but when they come you’ve got to make the most of them.”
At 6 feet tall and 170 pounds, the second-year star earned the nickname the “Slim Reaper” during his college days at Alabama. His quarterback, Jalen Hurts, made sure everyone knew after the game that Smith might be small, but he’s tough.
“That’s who he is. He’s a great player, all-around player, the Slim Reaper,” Hurts said during his postgame press conference. “By the eyes, he might be a little slight, but he plays like a big boy, and he is. He’s a grown man.”
Smith definitely made a pair of grown-man catches in the win, going up over defenders to haul in tough passes. The first was a 44-yard reception that got the Eagles down to the Commanders’ 2-yard line with 29 seconds left in the first half.
While that snag took athleticism and toughness, perhaps the most grown-man style came a couple of plays later when Smith caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Hurts as time expired, putting the Eagles up 24-0.
Smith finished the game with eight catches for 169 yards and a touchdown.
Eagles Receiving Duo Turning Heads
Brown and Smith are among the best receiving tandems in the league through the season’s first three weeks. In the top 11 in receiving yardage, Brown is fourth with 309 yards and Smith is 11th with 249 yards.
The only teammates on the list are the Miami Dolphins’ Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill, who are second and third, respectively, with 342 yards and 317 yards.
Brown and DeVonta Smith Chasing Eagles History
The two star receivers also have the chance to go down as the best receiving duo in franchise history. The Eagles have never had two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season, regardless of position. The closest they’ve come was in 2009, when wide receiver DeSean Jackson racked up 1,156 yards and tight end Brent Celek came up just short with 971 yards.
The closest two receivers have come in the same season was in 2010, when Jackson went for 1,056 yards and Jeremy Maclin came close with 964 yards.
Through three games, Brown is on pace for 1,751 yards and Smith is on track for 1,411. Those projections are boosted by the extra game in the current schedule as compared to 2009 and 2010, but they’d be on track for four-digit territory even with a 16-game slate.
But their hot start is even more impressive when you consider that both are on track to break Mike Quick’s franchise record for receiving yards in a season, set back in 1983 when he caught 69 passes for 1,409 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The Eagles truly have a special pair of receivers, and with Brown being 25 years old and Smith just 23, they could be teaming up together for a while.