Message to other NFL franchises: Eagles star WR DeVonta Smith can't be stopped, the only hope is containing him

Here's a message for the rest of the NFL. You can't stop DeVonta Smith. You can only hope to contain him.
Devonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
Devonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

While most of us have played football at some point in our lives, if we're being honest, most of us would be inclined to admit that the lightbulb went off sometime in high school or in college, and we finally admitted to ourselves that we weren't going to join the Philadelphia Eagles and be the next Randall Cunningham, Reggie White, Jason Kelce or Brian Dawkins. It's for that reason that we can attest to the following statement. We'll never know what it feels like to be in the huddle with Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown. Something tells us, however, that DeVonta Smith has to love his job.

Before we carry on, let's get one thing straight. DeVonta is no one's secondary or 'Y' receiver. Darius Slay informed us last season that the Eagles wide receiver corps is void of a 'Robin' character. There are no sidekicks here. Everyone has a 'Batman' quality.

Pro Football Focus shares a list of the NFL's most often open wide receivers when targeted, and Eagles star DeVonta Smith earns his place in the top ten.

Here's a nice read if you're looking for something to catch your attention as we await the dawn of another Eagles training camp. The stat gurus over at Pro Football Focus dropped a nice write-up recently, The most open receivers, stingiest cornerbacks in the NFL in 2022.

According to their research, only nine NFL receivers found themselves open more often than Mr. Smith when they were targeted. Here are the top ten along with the percentages that they found themselves free of danger when they found the ball coming their way. Check out some of the names.

  • Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (67.5%)
  • Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts (62.4%)
  • Richie James Jr., New York Giants (61%)
  • Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (60%)
  • Zay Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars (59.9%)
  • Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos (59%)
  • Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers (58.7%)
  • Keenan Allen, L.A. Chargers (58.5%)
  • DeVonta Smith, Eagles (58.4%)
  • Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (58%)

If you're like most, you probably asked yourselves who would leave someone of DeVonta's skill set open and do so with such frequency. The truth is Number 6 and superior route-running deserve a lot of credit for that happening, but there's something else to consider. Football is a team game, and the Birds have another star on the opposite side of the offensive formation in A.J. Brown.

A.J. and DeVonta have combined to form quite the duo. Each one's success helps foster the success of the other, and even though, as mentioned earlier, Smith should never be viewed as a secondary target, more often than not, when opposing defenses take the field to attempt to limit Philly's offense, it's A.J. that figures to draw the attention of the opposition's top cover guy if said defense is in man-to-man coverage. That will always be a win for the Birds.

Any attempt to limit DeVonta Smith with the second cornerback on an opposing defense's depth chart will, more often than not, lead to failure. So will any attempt to lock this Eagles defense down with zone coverage. They have been referred to as "Swole' and 'Skinny' Batman and as receivers 1 and 1a. Regardless of where you are in that discussion, here's a message for the rest of the NFL. You can't stop DeVonta Smith. You can only hope to contain him.

Don't look now. Year three is loading.

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