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DeVonta Smith expected to make preseason debut for Eagles vs. Patriots, per report

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The Philadelphia Eagles are planning on DeVonta Smith making his debut in Thursday’s preseason game vs. the New England Patriots, per a report from NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark. Smith, who was listed as day-to-day with a knee injury, was limited in the team’s joint practices with New England this week but suited up in pads — a positive sign the Eagles first-round pick was going to play in the preseason.

Smith returned to 11-on-11 drills during the joint practices, mostly used as a decoy even though he was still out there. Smith said earlier in the week his knee felt good and he was “taking it day-by-day” in getting back to 100% health from the sprained MCL he suffered a few weeks ago. 

If all goes as planned, Smith will make his debut for the Eagles in the team’s second preseason game — a week sooner than anticipated. 

“I always think it’s necessary for guys to play in preseason and go through that,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said earlier this week. “We are still evaluating. We have a preliminary plan of what we want Thursday to be like, but we got a lot of good work yesterday (Monday) and we will have a lot of good work today so that’s going to be constantly changing with every player.”

Smith immediately is the No. 1 option at wide receiver in the Eagles offense, already having chemistry with quarterback Jalen Hurts from their days at the University of Alabama. With Smith in the fold, Jalen Reagor slides to the No. 2 spot and Quez Watkins is the favorite for the No. 3 job. Watkins has been a standout in camp while Reagor has had a strong finish to camp — including two highlight reel catches that caught attention around the league. 

Smith may only see a few snaps, but his return is huge for the Eagles offense — especially for his development with the season opener less than four weeks away.  

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