Devonta Smith on Pace to Set Records for Eagles

Ask an Eagles fan who the best receiver in Eagles history is and you’ll likely get one of three answers depending on the age of the person answering. Harold Carmichael, Mike Quick, or Desean Jackson. Carmichael stands atop the reception yards leader chart with 8,798 yards, Jackson is the most recent picture of success in Philly with 6,512 yards, while Quick managed 6,464 yards playing in Philly from 1982-1990. 

Three Different Style Receivers

Harold Carmichael was one of the biggest receivers ever to suit up for the Eagles. At 6’8 225 pounds he would be one of the largest receivers to suit up in the NFL period. Watching Carmichael highlights is a lot like watching Randy Moss highlights. The term “Mossed” wasn’t around but if we are being honest Moss was walking a path paved by Carmichael. 

Playing with the Eagles from 1971-1983, Carmichael played when a 6’2 cornerback was a needle in a haystack at the NFL level, let alone a defensive back who stood 6’8. Carmichael was simply leaping over defenders and high-pointing the ball where very few if any other players could hope to leap. Carmichael topped 1,000 yards just three times in his career. 

Playing in an era where the passing game wasn’t the focal point it is today did its damage to the legacy he has. Put him in the modern game and he likely tops 10,000 yards in his Eagles career. 


Middle Man 

Mike Quick may have totaled the least receiving yards on this list, but he played from 1982-1990. His first two seasons he played opposite Carmichael benefiting from his presence. However even after Carmichael moved on and ended his career in Philadelphia, Quick found success. 

Quick wasn’t the physically imposing receiver that Carmichael was at 6’8, but at 6’2 190 lbs he added a lot more speed to the offense at the time. Most of Quick’s production came in just five seasons before injuries began to derail his career. From 1983-1985 after taking the role as the top target he would put up three straight 1,000 yard seasons. 

During this stretch he caught 193 passes for 3,708 yards and 32 touchdowns in 46 games. Over the other six seasons of his career he didn’t top 1,000 yards a single time. He played in 55 games, producing 2,756 yards on 160 receptions scoring 28 times. It’s truly amazing that despite his injuries limiting him like they did he had such a tremendous impact on the team. Throughout his entire career Quick never averaged less than 15 yards per reception. 


Modern Swagger for a Modern Era

DeSean Jackson was the smallest of these three receivers, but had arguably the biggest personality. Regarded as a diva later in his first stint with Philadelphia and ultimately let go, Jackson would play against Philly several times before returning to cement his legacy in Midnight Green. 

Jackson originally played for the Eagles from 2008-2013 before the drama that led to his exit from the team. He would spend the next three seasons playing the Eagles twice a year with the Washington Redskins, then two more seasons with Tampa Bay just before they legally changed the name to Tompa Bay. Then in 2019 Eagles fans rejoiced as Howie brought DJax home to Philly. 

Jackson was nearly as explosive as Quick producing over 17 yards per reception during his eight seasons in Philly. Unfortunately despite fond memories of Jackson soaring to scores for the Eagles, his return to Philly didn’t end up as anyone had hoped. 

The Eagles legend played in just 8 games. He was targeted 36 times catching 23 passes for 395 yards and 3 touchdowns. Meaning Jackson managed 6,117 yards in his first 87 games for the team. Certainly helps he was targeted 649 times during his first stint with the team. Keep in mind we aren’t considering Jackson’s contributions on special teams or in the run game. What a pleasure it was watching Jackson don the black and green.


Smith a Mixture of Jackson and Quick

Devonta Smith also known as skinny Batman certainly fits the moniker. At 6’0 170 pounds he stands 2 inches taller than Jackson but 5 lbs smaller. Smith is a tall, skinny, burner at wideout in a similar mold to Quick who stood 6’2 190 lbs. 

So far in just 32 games, Smith has produced 143 receptions from 219 targets a catch rate of over 65% a very impressive mark. To think Smith is at the beginning of his development as an NFL wideout is somewhat mind boggling. His route running, and ability to come down with contested catches despite his lack of size have left fans in awe for two years now. 

Devonta Smith

History Could Be Made in Year Three

What’s exciting is that we are on the verge of watching history be rewritten in just Smith’s third season with the team. Irving Fryar currently sits 20th in receiving yards with 3,067 yards. As it stands Smith has 1,930 yards with 2 more games remaining in 2022. He has averaged 60 yards per game throughout his career so far. Even if we use some deductive reasoning and decide to assume he sits out week 18, Smith is set to sit just under 2,000 yards.

This would leave Smith needing 1,077 yards in 2023, which would amount to 63 yards per game. After producing just 53.8 yards per game as a rookie, playing next to Aj Brown with Hurts playing at an MVP level he has averaged just over 67 yards per game this season leaving room for Smith to fall off his current pace and still top Fryar in just his third season of professional football. 

Eagles fans likely don’t realize how spoiled we have been watching names like DeSean Jackson, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Jeremy Maclin, and Jason Avant all of which rank in the top 20 all-time, over the last 15 years. When other team’s have several 10,000 yard receivers Philadelphia has yet log a single one in 90 years trying. Could Smith eventually be the first receiver to reach this prestigious mark? 

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