Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles 2021 first-round draft pick and resident Skinny Batman, DeVonta Smith, made an appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast and made one hell of a claim. He said he's "definitely" one of the NFL's top ten wide receivers.
Oh yeah... He's on record, but don't take our word for it. Have a look for yourselves.
If looking through midnight-green colored eyeglasses, you might have no issues with agreeing with what he said, and even if you aren't a fan, let's be honest. You might be prone to agree with him anyway.
In two seasons, he has collected 159 receptions. That has resulted in 2112 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. In 2021, he tallied just under 1,000 receiving yards while finding his way in the NFL’s top-ranked rushing attack, but guess what? The story gets better.
His rookie season saw him set the franchise record for receiving yards by a first-year player, breaking a mark set by DeSean Jackson. The dude is and has been an animal, but while we're tossing ideas back and forth about his greatness, let's take a look at his claim. Is he truly a top-ten receiver?
The only issue with placing DeVonta Smith into the top ten wide receivers in the NFL is that means you have to kick someone else off of the list.
Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus recently ranked the NFL's top 32 receivers ahead of the 2023 NFL season. We'll use his top ten, one we like, as our baseline. Here's what he came up with. Just in case you're curious, DeVonta Smith cracked the list at 18.
- Davante Adams
- Justin Jefferson
- Tyreek Hill
- Jamaar Chase
- Stefon Diggs
- Cooper Kupp
- A.J. Brown
- Terry McClaurin
- CeeDee Lamb
- Deebo Samuel
Again, this is a good baseline. You can adjust where you think is necessary.
The proprietary ranking system that we’re going to use here, in this case, involves asking two simple questions, 'Is ______ a top ten receiver?' and 'Is (receiver X) better than (receiver Y). We can then quantify everything by answering with a "yeah, that sounds about right” or “Nah, get outta here with that.”
It’s a foolproof analysis we tell you. So, let's solve the puzzle now. Who is leaving the top ten to make room for DeVonta Smith?
- Davante Adams: Yeah, the top spot sounds about right.
- Justin Jefferson: We have no issue with ranking him second.T
- Tyreek Hill: Yeah, that sounds about right.
- Jamaar Chase: Yeah, that sounds about right.
- Stefon Diggs: The fifth spot sounds about right for Stefon.
- Cooper Kupp: Nah, get out of here with that.
- A.J. Brown: Uh, yeah... A.J. Bown belongs in everyone's top ten.
- Terry McClaurin: Nah, get out of here with that.
- CeeDee Lamb: That sounds about right. We'll put CeeDee in the top ten.
- Deebo Samuel: Nah, get out of here with that.
Here's what we're thinking. Cooper Kupp's body is rotting and he’s gonna turn 30 in three weeks. That’s a bad combination and an even worse reminder of mortality for everyone. There are too many healthier guys with more tread left on the tires to keep Kupp in the top 10.
McLaurin should be kicked off the list because, in three of his four NFL seasons, he has tallied five TDs or less. A top-ten wide receiver should also never have less than 400 yards after the catch during an NFL season. Those are the rules.
We'll allow CeeDee Lamb into the top ten, but Deebo only had 632 receiving yards receiving last year and has only eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving once in four seasons. If we’re ranking the top 10 wide receivers, you have to be a good one, and you can't be a whiny dork. Nope! No dorks in the top ten.
So, after careful analysis, here's the verdict. We'll move A.J. Brown up one notch to six, place Jaylen Waddle at seven, and rank DeVonta Smith at eight. Mike Evans moves up one spot from his ranking of 11 on PFF's list to the tenth spot on ours.