time2rock Posted July 8, 2021 Share Posted July 8, 2021 Are expectations on DeVonta Smith too high? Will DeVonta Smith be a savior for a franchise that’s been starving for a young playmaking wide receiver since Chip Kelly jettisoned DeSean Jackson eight years ago? Will he join Fred Barnett, Jackson and Jeremy Maclin as the fourth homegrown WR with a 1,000-yard season since the mid-1980s? Will he become the first Eagles rookie ever with a 1,000-yard season? You would hope so. That’s why he’s here. Expectations are astronomical and they should be. I expect Smith to establish himself as an elite NFL wide receiver this year. I expect greatness. But history says it’s not a slam dunk. A look at wide receivers taken within five spots of where Smith was selected since 2000 reveals a reality that’s a little different than what you might expect. Smith was the 10th pick in this year’s draft, so I looked at the careers of every wide receiver drafted between the fifth and 15th pick during the period from 2000 through 2018. And there were more misses than hits. I only went up through 2018 because that gives all these guys a chance to have played at least three seasons, and anything less than that isn’t a fair evaluation. There were 27 WRs drafted from 5 to 15 during the span from 2000 through 2018. Ten of the 27 are still active, so these numbers could change, but they’ve all actually played at least four seasons (or at least had a chance to), so it does provide a pretty good look at what these WRs have done in their careers. Here’s what I found: • Of the 27 wide receivers drafted in the same neighborhood as Smith, only five ever made a Pro Bowl and only three made multiple Pro Bowls — Julio Jones, Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. Roy Williams and Koren Robinson made one Pro Bowl each but each had disappointing careers overall. Williams averaged 580 yards in five seasons after his one Pro Bowl and Robinson averaged 411 in six seasons after his one Pro Bowl. • Only 13 of the 27 — just under half — had at least one 1,000-yard season in their career, and only six had multiple 1,000-yard seasons: Evans (7), Jones (7), Beckham Jr. (5), Plaxico Burress (4), Michael Crabtree (2) and Lee Evans (2). Seven of the 27 never had 700 yards in a season and 12 of the 27 — that’s 44 percent — had only one or fewer career seasons with 700 yards. A third of them — 9 of 27 — reached 500 yards in a season either once or never in their career. • Of these 27 WRs taken between 5 and 15, only nine have averaged more than 50 yards per game in their career, which equals 800 yards in a 16-game season. For the sake of comparison, Kevin Curtis averaged 56.3 yards per game as an Eagle, Alshon Jeffery averaged 48.6, Jordan Mathews 48.5 and James Thrash 43.1. More than half of the WRs taken 5 through 15 from 2000 through 2018 (15 of 27) averaged fewer yards per game in their career than Thrash. • Only eight of the 27 averaged more than 800 yards in their first three NFL seasons. Ten of them — nearly 40 percent — averaged less than 500 yards in their first three seasons. Only 12 of them scored more than 10 TDs in their first three seasons. • More than half of these receivers — 14 of 27 — scored 20 or fewer touchdowns in their entire career. Eight scored 10 or fewer. One of them, Kevin White, who the Bears took seventh overall in 2015, never scored a touchdown. • Of the 17 guys taken fifth through 15th who are no longer active, eight had fewer than 3,000 receiving yards in their entire career (Michael Clayton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Reggie Williams, David Terrell, Mike Williams, Justin Blackmon, Troy Williamson and Corey Coleman). • Only eight of the 27 had at least 625 yards as a rookie. Only Beckham Jr., Clayton and Mike Evans had 1,000 yards. Their average rookie season was 38 catches for 539 yards and four TDs. What does all this mean? All those guys entered the NFL with enormous expectations, but the hit rate on WRs drafted in the same range as Smith appears to be fairly low. I still think the kid is going to be a star. Honestly, I'll be shocked if he isn't. But there's no two ways about it: The numbers are ominous. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/are-expectations-eagles-wr-devonta-smith-too-high?fbclid=IwAR0gfYCFI1tEvLom9zECRO7p_oiuiUGIp38trWuCL88jB8X3MK7n-K5-QxU Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now