The 2021 NFL draft hype surrounding Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith is raging out of control and may have reached its peak in the latest mock draft from the Draft Network’s Trevor Sikkema, who sent the Crimson Tide standout to the Philadelphia Eagles with the sixth overall pick.
Yes, with the sixth overall pick.
“He’s only 6-foot-1!”
“He’s only 180 pounds!”
I don’t care. He’s one of the best football players in the country and should be picked appropriately. Smith is a technician in his routes, has spider webs for hands, and has that smooth, long-stride speed to threaten vertically. He’s a No. 1 receiver who can play a variety of different positions.
Measurables are against him, yet he has consistently overcome them enough to go down as one of the best receivers in SEC history.
This is a growing sentiment, if not the consensus opinion, on Smith with the 2020 college season winding down. Through nine games, Smith’s hauled-in 80 catches for 1,305 yards and 15 touchdowns. Remarkable, no doubt about it.
But we can’t ignore his physical makeup. It’s great to root for the outlier and turn a blind eye to his physical limitations, but take a look at the league’s 10 most productive receivers and the lightest one of the bunch is Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs — 191 pounds.
Smith is an unofficial 175.
Is he an elite route-runner? Yes. Does he have incredibly reliable hands? Absolutely. But is he built like the prototype alpha wide receiver who normally comes off the board in the early part of Round 1? No, he isn’t.
Smith will be a first-round pick. But if a general manager takes him in the top 10, it’ll be a bet against historical trends. And that may just be too big of a risk to take.