PHILADELPHIA — Eagles wide receiver Devonta Smith is looking bigger and stronger this summer. If his third-year product from Alabama looks a little sleepy, it’s probably because you missed a nap. Smith, 24, thinks sleep is overrated. He may be the only 1,000-yard receiver in the league who lives on four hours of sleep each night.
“Everybody feels different,” Smith said after practice on Sunday. “Some people need a lot of sleep, some don’t. I don’t need a lot of sleep time. That’s how my body works.”
Smith was tougher than tough, surviving Justin Reed’s mighty hit with a 12-yard catch to give the Eagles a big first down en route to their first points in Super Bowl 2. The play happened so quickly that officials were unable to go downfield fast enough to confirm it was a direct shot.
Smith led the Eagles with 95 receptions, but feels his best is yet to come. Last season he had 1,196 receiver yards (12.6 years) and seven touchdowns. He caught almost 70% of his 136 targets, the latter only trailing AJ Brown’s 145 of his targets.
“Since the OTA, I’ve been coming here with new players on the team and building chemistry with them,” Smith said. “Coming here every day and going through the routine with them just adds to the excitement as the season approaches.”
With a goal like Smith’s (which he declined to disclose), there isn’t much time to kill. That’s why his sleeping habits are different except for one final point.
“It depends on the day,” says Smith. “On days when I have a lot of time, I probably nap in between, but if I don’t have enough, I just take four hours straight and that’s it. I try to sleep when I’m tired and wake up when the alarm goes off. “
By the way, Smith’s alarm goes off at 5am.
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The Eagles haven’t officially released numbers, but they need to release 17 more players to hit the 53-player limit by 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to a timed Sunday morning practice.
More than a dozen players were unofficially sacked on Sunday. Here’s what I haven’t practiced:
Running back Kennedy Brooks, wide receivers Jadon Hazelwood, Freddie Swain, Johnny King, tight end Tyree Jackson and offensive guard Tyrese Robinson.
Defensively, Aduce tackled Marvin Wilson, Caleb Sanders, Olive Sagapol, Robert Cooper, and linebackers Quinton Bell and Tyreke Maddox-Williams.
Roster numbers were never set, even after the Eagles hit the 53-man limit. This is because cuts from other teams are always requested or signed after the market floods.
The Eagles are likely to keep all seven draft picks, but seventh-round defensive tackle Moro Ojomo is injured and just recently returned to practice after a concussion in Texas.
“Obviously, this is the worst time in football,” veteran tight end Dallas Gedert said Sunday. “At camp, you get along very well with 100 people or whatever, but now you have to cut it down to 50 people. So you’re going to lose a lot of people you’ve become good friends with in the past year.”