Eagles Rookie Minicamp: DeVonta Smith ‘As Advertised’
The Eagles 2020 rookie class got a very impersonal introduction to NFL life thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
The rookie class was stuck doing virtual meetings and were unable to get out on the field with their teammates and coaches for minicamp or OTAs, putting them at a severe disadvantage in making the transition to the NFL game.
Today Eagles 2021 rookies got a chance to run around on the field, meeting their new coaches and teammates at the Nova Care Complex.
"We set some goals for them, and really it was to go out there and compete, was to learn the offense, the defense and the special teams, get the basics down, get one percent better every day, connect with their teammates," said new Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni. "Then finally, the fifth goal that we set for them was go out there and show us what you guys can do. That was the main thing. That was the main message is: go out there and show us what you guys can do."
Eagles rookies haven't shown much in recent seasons, especially their wide receivers, like 2019 second-round pick, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and 2020 first-round pick, Jalen Reagor. The team is hoping 2021 first-round pick DeVonta Smith snaps the streak of lackluster play from their rookie wide receivers.
"As advertised, he catches everything," Sirianni gushed. "Like that ball touches his hands, he catches it. He's really long. I think you guys saw that, right? He's got long arms, and he's got a big catch radius."
"I just thought he showed excellent, excellent ability to change directions at the top of the route. Even better than what I saw on tape, to be 100 percent honest with you."
While Smith is the new kid on the block, Zach Ertz is one of the all-time great Eagle pass-catchers. His name has been the subject of trade rumors all offseason long, and the team gave Ertz permission to seek a trade back in March, but have yet to find a suitor willing to match the teams asking price.
On Friday Sirianni said he has talked to Ertz, but gave no indication either way about the 30-year old tight ends future in Philadelphia.
"I've talked to Zach, but my conversation with Zach, I'm going to keep that between Zach and I, but let's just be honest, of course Zach is a great football player. He's showed that he's a great football player for a very long time. Man, he's made a ton of plays. I got to see a ton of tape on Zach. Obviously, when I got here this year and then also in 2018, my first year with the Colts, we watched a ton."
"So Zach is a heck of a football player, and he's been a heck of a football player for a long time in this league."
While Sirianni didn’t get divulge what has been said between he and Ertz or his future with the team, the head coach did open up about the tight end, calling him a "heck of football player".
The Eagles may be ready to turn the page on Ertz as their top target in the passing game, but filling his shoes won’t be an easy task.
Outside of what he brings as a leader and veteran voice, Ertz has been the most productive tight end in team history. The 2013 second-round pick has 561 career catches for 6,078 yards and 36 scores.
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