Philadelphia Eagles draft: Reactions after Jalen Hurts dissects Waddle, Smith

Jalen Hurts (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Jalen Hurts (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

If you cheer for the Philadelphia Eagles long enough, you’re almost certain to come away with an understanding of something obvious. Opinions are subjective, and even though these people all cheer for the same football team, it isn’t difficult to find varying theories on just about everything that can be argued.

Then again, that can be said about all NFL fans. Some view Deion Sanders as the greatest cornerback of his era. Others say it’s Rod Woodson. Here’s a theory that the staff at Inside The Iggles all subscribe to. Opinions are only as valuable as one’s knowledge of a particular subject.

Now, while it has to be mentioned that Rod Woodson was used in a multitude of ways (blitzes, etcetera), when you talk to guys like Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice, they say that Neon Deion was the toughest matchup they’ve had to deal with.

That can’t be a coincidence. That also has to count for something if you’re an NFL fan that has ever gone back and forth in your mind about these types of arguments.

Here’s what all of that means if you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan.

For those of you that are looking for the parallels between that and what’s going on with the Birds, look at it this way. The best way to get some insight on Waddle and Smith is to ask a quarterback that knows them both, a quarterback that’s shared the locker room with them for instance. We’ll dive into that in one second.

Everyone acknowledges the challenges that Philly faces in rebuilding a winning roster. They have 11 draft picks in the 2021 NFL Draft and need to strike gold.

While there have been arguments about whether the Birds should take a quarterback or go with someone like Kyle Pitts, we can probably all agree that there won’t be much blowback if Philly goes with one of the best wide receiver prospects.

That leads to questions about who the best option for this team is. Would that be LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase or one of the Alabama Crimson Tide teammates, Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith?

The Eagles have a signal-caller who knows both of them and has shared the locker room with them. Recently, he and another former Tide quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, spoke with Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News to offer their opinions on not only Waddle and Smith, but also on running back Najee Harris and quarterback Mac Jones. In reference to Jaylen Waddle, Jalen Hurts had this to say.

"I saw his athleticism playing basketball and I always knew he was something special. He fit right in when he came to Alabama. He’s a pure playmaker who plays passionate football, and he loves the game."

Here’s QB1’s take on DeVonta Smith.

"Everyone wants to go out and party and be on the scene, but the literal first thing we did was go to the indoor facility at Alabama, throw some routes, and get (the) hard work in. That describes him in a nutshell, the maturity he has (and) the will to win (along with) the competitive nature. He’s got it all. That’s why he had one of the best receiving seasons in college football history."

Here’s Tua’s take on both guys.

"They’re both very explosive. They can both take the top off of defenses. They’re also very athletic in space, so you give them the ball in (the) open field, (and) they will make something happen for you. In the running game, they’re not afraid to get down and dirty with blocks. That’s what makes them complete players for any NFL team who gets one of them."

Here are a couple of immediate reactions if you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan.

Much of the theory from quite a few draft prospects is this. Kyle Pitts is a sure thing and, quite possibly the most versatile of all of the pass-catchers in the upcoming selection meeting. Chase, Waddle, and Smith will all be stars, and choosing between the three just comes down to preference.

The Philadelphia Eagles should be fine regardless of who they select, especially if the numbers they put up at the collegiate level translate. Here’s a reminder for those that love statistical data and use it in their arguments often.

In 24 games, Pitts hauled in 100 catches for 1,492 yards and 18 touchdowns from the tight end position. Ja’Marr Chase took the 2020 season off due to COVID-19 concerns but hauled in 107 receptions for 2,093 yards and 23 touchdowns in 24 games.

Waddle boasts 106 catches for 1,999 yards and 17 catches for his 34-game career. Smith has a Heisman Trophy on the shelf after snagging 235 receptions, including 117 during the 2020-2021 run. That’s resulted in 1,856 yards and 23 scores.

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The eyeball test tails us the best argument for being named the best prospect in 2021’s draft class was made by Smith. With that being said, if your only issue with him is he’s slim, you may want to give him a few more looks. According to his former quarterback, Mr. Hurts, he’s just as NFL-ready as any of these other guys.