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Normally, the X-receiver is a bigger, more physical guy who can get off the line of scrimmage cleanly. Players such as DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson and Mike Evans possess the prototypical physical traits for that role.
Those aren’t the only players who can succeed in that role though.
In fact, the new head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, Nick Sirianni, recently said that having size at X-receiver in his offense isn’t a necessity — as long as you can still get a clean release off the line of scrimmage.
“It’s just a matter of if that guy can do what you want and if that person can do it on the outside,” Sirianni said, via NJ.com. “When you say X, can he win one-on-one matchups consistently? Who can win the one-on-one matchup consistently so the quarterback can take the ball, go one, two, three, four, five, and the ball is out, making everyone else better in front of him, and he’s better because it’s just one on one out there.”
Sirianni has a history of backing that up too. When he was the offensive coordinator for the Colts, he sometimes used a 5-foot-9,180-pound T.Y. Hilton in that X-receiver role. We’ve seen other top guys in that role as well, which Sirianni pointed out.
“It looks different across the league,” Sirianni said. “Antonio Brown has been that X, Julio Jones has been that X, and Odell Beckham Jr. has been that X. These guys come in different shapes and sizes. The question is if they can win consistently one on one.”
With DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, the answer to that last question is yes. Despite their size limitations, both are able to win one-on-one matchups. Size concerns for Smith are mostly rooted in worry about his body holding up.
Notice how there aren’t a lot of people questioning his physicality. He plays a lot bigger than his 166-pound frame. The point? Don’t rule out an Alabama receiver at pick No. 12 for the Eagles.
Also don’t rule out a potential trade back into the top 10 for a cornerback, quarterback or maybe even one of these receivers either.
We’re only a week away from finding out.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.