Confident, poised, businesslike: DeVonta Smith’s career off to fast start originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
ATLANTA — On the first drive of the first quarter of his first NFL game, DeVonta Smith exhibited the kind of confidence not often shown by a rookie.
When he lined up on 3rd-and-4 from the Falcons’ 18-yard line midway through the first quarter, Smith knew he was going to get in the end zone.
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“When I seen it was man,” Smith said after the game. “I just knew.”
He was right.
Smith, the Eagles’ No. 10 overall pick, was able to beat his corner and get open just enough thanks to a natural pick from Zach Ertz to cap off the Eagles’ first offensive possession of 2021 with a touchdown. It was a perfect pass from his buddy Jalen Hurts too as the Eagles cruised to a 32-6 win over the Falcons at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
“I appreciate the confidence he has and shows,” Hurts said. “To say that is a testament to the hard work and what we put in and all the effort we put into what we do, but that was something we worked on and got the look we wanted it and hit it. We hit it, his first catch was a touchdown, I think.”
Yeah, that was Smith’s first professional catch but it wasn’t his last of the evening. Smith ended up with six for 71 yards and a touchdown.
His six catches ties DeSean Jackson’s record for Eagles making their first career start and his 71 yards puts him second behind Jackson’s 106 from the same game in 2008.
It was an auspicious debut for Smith. And for a fanbase that has been yearning for a young, talented receiver to be the next great Eagle, it was a welcome sign.
Miles Sanders said the Eagles’ locker room after the 26-point win was a like a party. And you’d assume one of the younger players on the team would be enjoying it like everybody else. But Smith is no ordinary rookie. He comes from a major program in Alabama and isn’t going to act like the Birds just won the Super Bowl.
“Everybody is excited but we understand,” Smith said. “We enjoy this for 24 hours and then move on to next week.”
Because the one thing to remember about Smith is that he’s always focused on getting better, always poised and mature. This is a kid who won the Heisman Trophy last year but introduced himself to the football world as a freshman when he caught the game-winning touchdown in the National Championship.
His touchdown on Sunday came in the same corner of the field in Mercedes Benz Stadium.
“It really ain’t hit me yet, honestly,” Smith said of his first touchdown. “Because I was just in the moment, knowing I had a task (to complete). It hasn’t hit me yet.”
After the game, Smith said that he didn’t have the touchdown football. Someone took it and he wasn’t sure where it was.
But in the moment he didn’t seem to be too worried about retrieving it.
“It’ll find me,” Smith said of the ball.
After all, it usually does.
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