When DeVonta Smith arrives in Philadelphia to begin his NFL career, he’ll already have a terrific relationship with his quarterback both on the field and off.
That whole getting-to-know-you process already took place a long time ago.
Smith and Jalen Hurts spent two years together at Alabama and remained very close even after Hurts transferred to Oklahoma and eventually made his way to the Eagles.
Now they’re together again in Philly, playing a huge role in the Eagles’ attempt to “climb the mountain again,” as Howie Roseman put it.
Hurts, who started the last four games of the 2020 season for the Eagles, was among the first to welcome the newest Eagle to the fold:
“Jalen, that's my guy,” Smith said soon after the Eagles moved up two spots to draft him with the 10th pick Thursday night. “Even when I was a recruit, he was the guy trying to get me to come to Alabama. That's my guy. I have a great relationship (with him), and I'm ready to work.”
Smith and Hurts were together in Tuscaloosa in 2017 and 2018, and they played a lot together in 2018. Smith wasn’t yet a top prospect, but he did catch 42 passes for 693 yards and six touchdowns that year, much of that from Hurts.
By the time Smith blossomed as one of the country’s top talents, Hurts had left for Oklahoma, but Smith said in their time together Hurts made a huge impact on him.
“Jalen taught everybody the game,” he said. “He was just one of those guys that was a student of the game and taught everybody the game. When you got reps with him, he was always telling you about coverages and rotations. The connection is there, the chemistry is there. Overall, he's just always helped everybody else be better on the field.”
Obviously, the Eagles picked Hurts’ brain during the pre-draft process as they tried to learn everything they could about Smith.
“Jalen told us what everyone has told us: That his work ethic is legendary,” Roseman said. “His desire to be great, to inspire his teammates, and then his ability. He's just got unique ability.”
Smith and Hurts are both 22 and bursting with confidence, enthusiasm and passion.
That’s not enough to win football games, but it's a pretty good start. And after a miserable 4-11-1 season, this combination of a young quarterback and a young receiver who already have chemistry together, believe in each other and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses is definitely something to get excited about.
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: