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Eagles' DeVonta Smith Best Player in NFL Draft Aside from Trevor Lawrence, Exec Says

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 7, 2021

Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini

The NFL draft saw three quarterbacks go with the top three picks, but one NFL executive believes a wide receiver should have been in the mix. 

β€œI thought DeVonta Smith was better than Jaylen Waddle,” one executive told The Athletic's Mike Sando. β€œI thought he was the best player in the draft next to Trevor Lawrence.”

Smith, the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner, ended up going to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 10 overall. 

The Eagles traded with the division-rival Dallas Cowboys to move up from No. 12 after both cornerbacks Dallas hoped to draft were selected, according to Tim McManus of ESPN. Dallas selected Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons at No. 12 and also added the Eagles' third-round selection. 

Despite winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the NCAA in receptions (117), receiving yards (1,856) and receiving touchdowns (23), Smith was the third receiver off the board. In front of him were Ja'Marr Chase out of LSU, who went to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 5, and his Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle, who headed to the Miami Dolphins at No. 6.

According to McManus, Smith dropped because of concerns about his weight after he showed up at the NFL combine weighing 166 pounds. General manager Howie Roseman brushed off those concerns while speaking to reporters after the pick. 

 "He was really highly rated on our board, someone who we feel like is not only a great player but a great person and will come in and be ready to roll," he said. "We talked about it through this draft process, about getting guys in here who could help us build the type of culture we want." 

Smith will slot in alongside Jalen Reagor, the team's first-round pick in 2020, to lead a receiving corps that ranked fifth-worst in the league in team receiving yards last season. 

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