Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith is likely to be the first receiver off the board on Thursday’s NFL Draft. While the speedster will be a welcomed addition for any team looking for a true play-maker, he comes with his fair share of criticism, as well.
The biggest knock (and maybe the only knock) on DeVonta is about his size. To give some historical background, very few NFL receivers who were drafted at a similar size as DeVonta Smith have gone on to enjoy successful NFL careers.
There are 16 WRs that weighed in at 170 pounds or less at the combine since 2000. Here's the top guys sorted by career AV. DeSean Jackson is best case scenario, who ran a 4.35. I like Smith a lot, and think he will be a good pro, but it would be a bit unprecedented. pic.twitter.com/lDAWRHuEjm
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) April 21, 2021
DeVonta Smith was asked about the notion that he might be too small, and he had a pretty thoughtful response.
“We play football. We’re in a football business. We’re not weightlifting. We’re not bodybuilders,” he retorted when asked about his weight. “It’s football. That’s what we’re here for. All the other stuff is irrelevant.
Just having different things that I can do different ways to get from point A to point B. Just overall football smarts. I feel like I’m one of the smartest players out there, and that just comes down to preparation and always wanting to be a step ahead of who I’m playing against.”
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I’m with DeVonta here. While you may say he’s going to get clobbered by NFL defenses, I think he’ll be just fine. The league has certainly gotten softer in recent years, and favors offensive play-makers such as Smith.
He’s also just a different breed.
We all just watched DeVonta Smith completely dominate SEC defenses for a whole season, and there is no reason for me to believe that he can’t be a stud in the NFL.