Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith did everything an NFL draft prospect could possibly dream of during the 2020 season. He set records, won the Heisman Trophy, and went off for over 200 receiving yards in the first half of the Crimson Tide’s national championship win over Ohio State.
Naturally, the last thing left for Smith to accomplish is to be a high first-round pick, which all indications in the scouting community suggest he will be. Remember: not all box scores are viewed the same, and skill players need to pass other tests before their production can be used as a critical factor in their evaluation.
One such test that faces Smith in the coming months is the physical profile that alpha receivers possess. Smith won’t be confused for guys like D.K. Metcalf or A.J. Brown anytime soon, and he’s even 30 pounds lighter than a guy like Terry McLaurin, who at 208 pounds is forced to rely on precise route-running because of the physicality of the game.
So what does that mean for Smtih and his 175-pound frame? It’ll take a leap of faith from an NFL general manager to view him as a can’t-miss top-10 pick, but according to more than 200 draft fans polled on Twitter, that’s exactly where they think he’ll come off the board.
— Pro Football Draft (@ProFBDraft) January 12, 2021
Nearly 36% of the responses had an even higher draft slot for Smith; they think he should be a top-5 pick. Just under 41% think he’ll come off the board between picks six and 10. A total of just 23% of responses think Smith will fall outside the top 10.
Smith’s draft narrative will be a fun one to follow. Draft historians will have a hard time buying-in and swimming against decades of data that suggest 175-pound receivers don’t get picked high. But Smith may just be a different dude. He sure looked like it when he was torching Ohio State’s secondary.