Philadelphia Eagles: DeVonta Smith still has a path to 1,000 yards

If DeVonta Smith didn’t play another snap this season, he’d go down as one of the better rookie wide receivers in Philadelphia Eagles history.

Now granted, that isn’t a particularly high-volume bar to clear, as the franchise has never had a rookie receiver go for 1,000 receiving yards since their inception in 1933, but after watching highly-drafted receivers like Jalen Reagor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and Nelson Agholor fail to take the league by storm right out of the gate, it’s nice to see Smith look every bit like a WR1 with the potential to get better very much in play.

Fun fact: Do you know who holds the Eagles’ record for rookie receiving yards? That would be DeSean Jackson, who had 912 yards as a rookie.

Can DeVonta Smith clear that hurdle? Can he transcend his current spot at fifth all-time among rookie receivers and leapfrog Charles Young, Keith Jackson, Jordan Matthews, and Jackson for the top spot? Yes, I’d say that’s very possible, but don’t discount the rookie from beating the odds and still eking out 1,000, as he has a pretty decent chance of doing so depending on how the Philadelphia Eagles formulate his offense.

DeVonta Smith might just make history for the Philadelphia Eagles.

179 yards. If DeVonta Smith hits that total at any point before the final whistle of Week 18, he has 1,000 yards.

It’s just that simple.

Mind you, Smith could still hit the 1,000-yard mark in Week 19, as the Eagles will surely target their top receiver at least a few times in the playoffs, but those yards don’t really count towards his regular season total, even if he puts up Justin Jefferson numbers.

Alright, cool. If you didn’t know that 1,000-yard receivers only really includes regular season production, now you do, and the specific yardage totals needed have been established; what are the chances it actually gets done?

In this writer’s humble opinion? 60 percent.

Fortunately for evaluator types, DeVonta Smith has already faced off against his final two opponents of the season, though under very different circumstances.

First, the nameless football team of Washington, who took on the Philadelphia Eagles a little over a week ago and will face them again this weekend. In their first showdown, Smith caught three of the five passes thrown his way and picked up 40 yards for his efforts.

Ideal production? Hardly, but the Eagles won the game handily and had their most overall offense of the season in the contest, so that’s forgivable.

When the Eagles take on Washington in Week 17, the Football Team will almost surely have their fully healthy top cornerback, Kendall Fuller, back on the field, and Ron Rivera will be able to use him all over the field as a Smith buster.

Will it work? Only time will tell, but it’s clear Jalen Hurts should get a few more balls to his collegiate teammate than on Tuesday Night Football.

And as for Dallas? Well, Smith had another suboptimal performance in that game back in Week 3, but he had to do so versus another one of his college teammates, Trevon Diggs, who might just be the best cornerback in the NFC East, which is saying a lot, considering Darius Slay also calls the division home.

The good news? Diggs, and most of Dallas’ starters for that matter, will all but surely sit out of the regular season finale, as their spot in the playoffs is already set. Assuming that’s how things come to pass and the Eagles need a win to punch their ticket to the playoffs, I would expect Nick Sirianni, a wide receiver at heart, to make sure Smith has every opportunity to at least overtake DeSean Jackson at 912, if not go for broke and the full 1,000.

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t particularly matter if DeVonta Smith makes it to 1,000 yards as a rookie. He’s clearly the Philadelphia Eagles’ best wide receiver and will continue to get better with each passing season. If this isn’t the year he passes the century mark, the opportunity will surely present itself over and over again for the foreseeable future. But do you know what? After how tough 2021 has been for darn near everyone, it’d be very nice to see the rookie receiver cement his season with a pair of huge statistical achievements.