AJ Brown received his financial wish, and with it came a new teammate with plenty of potential.
So much potential, in fact, Brown believes the Eagles have a rare pairing.
“In my opinion, Smitty (receiver DeVonta Smith) is a wide receiver No. 1,” Brown said Friday. “And he’s going against a cornerback No. 2, I expect Smitty to dominate. Just taking pressure off each other. Even being on the same sides, so you can’t really double. It’s great having another great wideout besides you.”
Brown has a little bit of experience playing alongside a highly talented player thanks to his one season spent in Tennessee with Julio Jones, but it was largely a wash, due to Jones’ struggle to stay healthy and available. Smith, on the other hand, is young and just completed his first NFL season, catching 64 passes for 916 yards and five touchdowns in an offense that made a significant shift toward running first in the second half of the season.
With pass-catching talents like Brown and Smith, Philadelphia is expected to be more potent – especially if third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts takes the next step in his professional development.
Smith was drafted to be a No. 1 receiver and is on track to be that, but the surprise acquisition of Brown during the 2022 NFL Draft brought the Eagles a receiver who has already proven himself to be a top target. It’s a fortunate situation for Philadelphia, but Brown’s comments on Smith might make one raise an eyebrow.
Brown has an answer for that.
“He’s a really good route runner,” Brown said of Smith. “Guys early on in their career, like first year, Year 2, they’re still developing and he can run every route in the route tree. Just a little [nuances], little things that, of course, that we all can get better at. And just keep tuning up our game and keep developing. I think the sky’s the limit for Smitty. So, I’m excited for him Year 2. I’m excited for the steps he takes. “
Smith still has plenty to learn, of course. As they say, no one is a finished product, but after Smith spoke in early May of how he was excited to learn from Brown, it sounds as if the two are already getting along quite well.
“I’m always trying to help him out as much as I can,” Brown said. “We are learning from each other and just trying to pour my game into him. What he can learn and whenever he messes up on something, I try to give my advice on it. Just trying to, like I said, give me advice.”
If the advice is taken to heart, perhaps Smith and Brown can live up to the expectations set by Brown’s comments. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to add an explosive passing attack to the NFL’s reigning no. 1 rushing offense.