Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith was likely in line for a jump in 2022 even before his team acquired A.J. Brown because he has more experience entering his second season.
Adding a No. 1 option alongside the 23-year-old playmaker could set the stage for an even bigger leap.
Brown told reporters as much while suggesting the NFC East team now has two No. 1 wide receivers:
"It takes the pressure off the other guy. Say we're playing [the Eagles defense], I'd probably take [Darius] Slay, because he's cornerback No. 1 and I'd go against him. And that gives another really talented receiver [the chance] to go against a cornerback No. 2. So it takes pressure [off]. In my opinion, Smitty is a wide receiver 1, and he's going against a cornerback No. 2, I expect Smitty to dominate, you know?
"So, just taking pressure off each other. And even being on the same side, so you can't really double—that's great having another great wideout beside you."
Smith had no issue putting up impressive numbers as a rookie with 64 catches for 916 yards and five touchdowns. He led the Eagles in all three categories and was in line to be their No. 1 option during the upcoming season until the team acquired Brown from the Tennessee Titans via a trade.
Brown was a 2020 Pro Bowler who surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons and likely would have again in his third in 2021 if he wasn't limited to 13 games because of injuries.
He finished the campaign with 63 catches for 869 yards and five touchdowns.
The Eagles have made the playoffs in three of the four seasons since their Super Bowl victory during the 2017 campaign but have one just one postseason win in that span. Part of the issue last year was the lack of an explosive passing offense that finished 25th in the league.
The unit will surely finish higher than that with Brown and Smith torching opposing secondaries as the team looks to take the next step as a Super Bowl contender.