DeVonta Smith is a stud of an NFL draft prospect. He’s lightning fast, he can create separation with ease, and he’s the smoothest route-runner in the 2021 class. Oh, and he’s coming off a historic senior season at Alabama in which he won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship.
But despite all that, Smith is somehow sliding on draft boards because of his unimpressive size. A few days before the NFL draft gets underway, Smith tried to put teams at ease by assuring them his slender frame won’t be a problem at the next level.
DeVonta Smith could fall in the NFL draft because of his size
After Smith’s insane senior season at Alabama, he established himself as arguably the best wide receiver prospect in the draft and a possible top-five pick. The speedy pass-catcher recorded 1,856 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns in 2020, which ranked sixth and fifth, respectively, for a single season in college football history. He seemingly had everything an NFL team would want in a first-round wideout.
But Smith’s draft stock took a hit when he measured in at 6-foot-0 and 166 pounds during a pre-draft medical check. Injury concerns and longevity issues immediately popped up for teams drafting inside the top 10. Now, Smith could fall to the third wide receiver drafted on Thursday.
Smith sends a strong message to NFL teams about his size concerns
NFL draft experts might believe Smith’s size is a grave concern for a top draft pick, but the Alabama product is here to say it won’t be an issue. Smith appeared on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football this week and sent a strong message to teams thinking of passing on him because of his size.
“We play football. We’re in a football business. We’re not weightlifting. We’re not bodybuilders,” Smith said, per Kevin Patra of NFL.com. “It’s football. That’s what we’re here for. All the other stuff is irrelevant.”
Smith also appeared on ESPN’s First Take this week and said injuries happen to every football player regardless of size.
“Everybody has their own opinions, people talking about the size, but injuries don’t shy away from nobody,” Smith said. “Injuries don’t care what size you are. So I feel like the size thing, everybody is overthinking it… It is what it is. I just want the opportunity, so when the opportunity comes just take full advantage of it.”
Smith pleads his case to be a top draft pick
If teams in need of a wide receiver pass on a record-setting, Heisman Trophy-winning weapon because of a few inches and a couple of pounds, they might regret that decision for years. Smith has the potential to be a multi-year Pro Bowler in the NFL, and he’s as confident as he is talented.
“I can do everything — inside, outside, you can put me on special teams,” he told Good Morning Football. “There is nothing I can’t do. No job is too big. Wherever you want to plug me in at I can do that. So, that just gives me an advantage.”