Philadelphia — Shortly after receiving Tennessee Titans receiver AJ Brown Thursday night for picks 18 and 101 in the NFL draft, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman told the story of the first time he and coach Nick Sirianni saw Brown together during the run-up to the draft. .
“I think we were in the middle of the first match and Nick [stood up] And she went, ‘I’m fine. Do you guys need anything?’ Roseman said with a laugh, ‘I’ll get something to eat.’ And I went, ‘Can you sit down? Can we finish this?’ And he goes, ‘I will.’ But I know this guy.”
As the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, Siriani saw Browns twice a year when they played with the division’s rival Titans, including in November of 2020, when the Browns had four catches for 98 yards and a touchdown and added a TD.
Siriani went on to return to size and strength when describing what he loved about Brown, who records at 6ft 226lbs. He noted that the 6-foot-6, 340-pound Brown and Jordan Davis, who was drafted by the Eagles on Thursday 13th overall, would make a fearsome duo as the first to get off the bus on match day.
This stands in contrast to the 6-foot-1, 170-pound DeVonta Smith, affectionately known as the Slim Reaper. They bring different skill sets to the table, which is a big reason Sirianni is so excited about the pairing.
“That’s exactly what it is,” he said of Brown and Smith. “It’s a good supplement.” “He’s a bigger guy with a lot of power to play. That’s one of the strongest receivers in the NFL.
“There are a lot of different things that because of his skills, because of that power of play, because of the speed of the body he has, and then his biggest asset… so many different ways that go with our attack that use that power of play, that use that speed. You want guys who can Winning singles matches, and this guy has shown in the NFL that he will win one-on-one matches.”
Midfielder Galen Hurts and Brown are friends. About a week before the draft, Hurts posted a photo on Instagram of him and Brown working in the field together. The only thing the Hurts lacked last season is a larger receiver that can run consistently over center and create yards after the hunt.
Brown ranked first in the YAC average in 2019 (9.0) and eighth in 2020 (6.1) before dropping to 55th in that category last season (3.7), according to ESPN statistics and information.
Smith, the 10th overall pick in the 2021 draft, had a solid rookie season, leading the team in receptions (64), receiving yards (916) and receiving touchdowns (5).
The Eagles believe Smith has the talent to be #1 on the scale. But the rest of the receiver picture was still shaky, with Galen Rigor having a hard time finding his footing and Quays Watkins a promising but unproven NFL receiver. They tried to trade Calvin Ridley before he was suspended from the season and also made an offer for free agent Christian Kirk, to no avail. Even though he’s only 24 years old, Brown has a Pro Bowl nod and a pair of 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, the kind of production that then proved.
Furthermore, they believe Brown can help protect Smith and crime from a major sophomore slump.
“I saw it myself [Chargers receiver] Keenan Allen, he had a bit of a slip from year one to year two because the defenses were putting pressure on him a little bit more. Well, that would make it very difficult for defenses to tackle a proven good like AJ Brown on the other side of him,” said Siriani, who was the Chargers receiver coach in 2016-2017. I think more than definitely this helps our game with scrolling, and that helps DeVonta. This is good for eagles only.”
This step is not without risks. Philadelphia handed Brown a four-year, $100 million extension that includes a guaranteed $57 million. Brown suffered multiple injuries last year, which took his receiving career down (869) and touchdown (5). They have given up recruiting and significant financial resources to land it – something Rosman seemed to loathe just a week ago.
But Philadelphia saw Yen Smith, someone who has a lasting relationship with QB and a player who could move on to the offense seamlessly.
“The coach has a vision. He has a vision of what we would look like offensively, and this guy was a good fit for us,” said Roseman.