Devonta Smith NFL Draft Profile
- 2017 (8 Games): 8 Rec, 160 yards, 3 TDs
- 2018 (13 Games): 42 Rec, 693 yards, 6 TDs
- 2019 (13 Games): 68 Rec, 1256 yards, 14 TDs
- 2020 (13 Games): 117 Rec, 1856 yards, 23 TDs
Devonta Smith accomplished just about everything at Alabama that a college football player possibly could. Multiple national championships, the most career receiving yards and touchdowns in SEC history, the sixth-best receiving season in college football history in 2020, and a Heisman trophy. Not to mention, a National Title game in which he had 215 yards and three touchdowns…in the first half.
Smith has all the tools to continue his success at the next level. He has great hands that catch everything he gets them on. His hands measured at 9 ¾ inches at his Pro Day, which is more than enough for any team to feel comfortable with. Case in point, check out this one-handed snag in a blowout win over LSU.
Not only does Smith have big mitts, but you may notice in the clip above that his arms are quite long. This makes him look a bit silly in pictures sometimes, but man, he can get to passes that a lot of other 6’1 receivers wouldn’t be able to. Likewise, a lot of 6’1 cornerbacks can’t get to them either, and his length should give his quarterback extra confidence to throw him passes in traffic.
Outside of his ridiculous body measurements, his intangibles are elite. He is one of the best route runners in this draft, and his ability to switch gears is a major catalyst of that. He has a great hesitation move, and he makes his cuts with purpose. Oftentimes, this leaves his quarterback with plenty of space to fit a pass in his pocket. Notice the speed that he gathers out of this catch as well. Like his Alabama teammate, Jaylen Waddle, Smith is a very savvy runner with the football.
An historic collegiate career, above average length, and crisp route running: what is holding Smith back, then? Well, not too much if I’m being honest. There are two knocks on him. One, he played with a lot of first round talent at Alabama, so some question his ability to translate his production to the NFL.
Well, if we asked that about every Alabama player, we wouldn’t get anything done. Most Alabama players are going to play with first round talent. Specifically for Smith, though, it’s worth noting that he was still Alabama’s WR1 in 2019, even with all three of Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Jaylen Waddle on the team. That means something when the QB trusts a player more than two others that went in the first round of the 2020 draft.
Secondly, the argument with a bit more merit is the concern about his size. While 6’1 is a pretty typical receiver height, 170 pounds is not typical receiver weight. It’s also worth noting that the 170 number is speculation. Smith declined to be weighed at his Pro Day, leading this writer to believe that Smith may be even lighter.
That said, it’s still not that concerning. Smith can still fill out his body, and even at his current size, he dominated SEC competition with little resistance. Along with that, he has virtually no injury history through his four-year collegiate career. He had one fluky hand injury in the 2020 title game, but that has nothing to do with his weight. If he had skeletons of ligament tears or bone breaks in his closet, then I would be more worried, but they aren’t there.
Even with these questions, Smith should be an undisputed first round pick. He is one of those competitors that can help change a culture while giving a QB a very reliable target. Outside of Jacksonville at number one, he should be near the top of everybody’s draft board.
Draft Projection: Top Five-Mid First Round
Best Traits: Length, 50/50 Catches, Route Running
Worst Traits: Size/Weight