Nick Sirianni isn’t very picky when it comes to wide receivers.

The Eagles’ first-year head coach doesn’t try to contain his excitement when asked about the position with which he’s most familiar during media availability, and he’s insistent that enthusiasm isn’t limited to pass catchers with prototypical builds.

During a news conference last week ahead of the NFL draft that starts Thursday, Sirianni and general manager Howie Roseman agreed that size wouldn’t be a top priority for them when evaluating this year’s wide receiver prospects.

“I think the first part is good players come in all shapes and sizes,” Roseman said. “We’re not going to discriminate based on any of those things.”

That’s good news for Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith, who checked in at 6 feet, 166 pounds earlier this month. The Heisman Trophy winner is coming off a season in which he had 117 catches for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns while playing against some of the best defensive backs in college football. His slight frame wasn’t an issue dealing with press coverage in the Southeastern Conference, but it’s fair to acknowledge there are very few examples of receivers with his build having success in the NFL.

Receivers in Smith’s weight class aren’t as uncommon — DeSean Jackson played most of his career around 170 pounds — but most of the lighter receivers are a few inches shorter than Smith. According to a USA Today story from last month, Smith’s combination of size and draft status is basically unprecedented.

Still, Smith’s track record gives plenty of reason to believe he can find success in the league despite his frame. He might be the best route runner in a deep class of receivers, and his college production speaks for itself. The primary concern about Smith’s stature would be his ability to handle press coverage and physical cornerback play. But he has displayed the tools necessary to handle both because of his athleticism.

“DeVonta Smith is a pristine route runner,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said last month. “He obviously, as everybody knows, is real thin. He is really long-armed and can go up and get it as well.”

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Smith is ranked third on Jeremiah’s wide receiver rankings behind LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle. He was ranked sixth overall on Jeremiah’s most recent big board, which ranks the entire class. If Smith makes it to the 12th pick and the Eagles draft him, he would likely slot into the “X” receiver role in the Eagles’ offense, which would frequently position him on the outside opposite the tight end against opposing teams’ best cornerbacks. Jalen Reagor, the team’s first-round pick last year, would occupy the “Z” spot opposite Smith, or split time in the slot.

The Eagles have preferred bigger, more physical receivers for the X role in the past, with 6-3, 218-pound Alshon Jeffery the primary X for several years and JJ Arcega-Whiteside (6-2, 225) drafted to be the heir apparent. The team has valued contested-catch ability in that role above route running or speed.

With Sirianni, there’s a real possibility that won’t be so much the case moving forward. The coach pointed out the different types of receivers he has used in the role during his time as an assistant coach with the Colts, Chargers, and Chiefs.

“What’s an X receiver look like? Well, I’ve had different X’s,” Sirianni said. “I’ve had [Colts receiver] T.Y. Hilton, who was 5-9, 180 pounds. He played X for us. I’ve had [former Chiefs receiver] Dwayne Bowe, who was 6-2, 220 pounds. He played X for us. I had [Chargers receiver] Keenan Allen, who was 6-3, [211] — all these guys that I’m saying, T.Y. was fast; Keenan was quick, not fast; Dwayne Bowe was powerful. They all played different.”

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Hilton is the most recent example of an undersize receiver filling the X role for Sirianni, who was the Colts’ offensive coordinator for three years before getting the Eagles job. According to Pro Football Focus, Hilton played 86% of his offensive snaps on the outside last year and was primarily used in the X role while catching 56 passes for 762 yards and five touchdowns.

“It’s just a matter of, ‘Can that guy do what you want?’” Sirianni said. “Really, when you say X, it’s, ‘Can he win one-on-one matchups consistently?’ So it’s just, who can do that? Who can win the one-on-one matchup consistently? ... That guy looks different all across the league.”

Who will be the Birds’ first-round pick in the NFL Draft? What moves will the team make? You better believe our Inquirer Eagles writers have something to say about it, so get in on the action at this subscriber-exclusive event on April 27.