After winning the Heisman Trophy and a national championship, what’s next for Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith in the NFL?
Smith played a supporting role during his first two seasons at Alabama, although he did make an impact with 50 catches over those two seasons. He began to play a prominent role for the Crimson Tide in 2019, hauling in 68 passes for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns while being named First-Team All-SEC. Of course, Smith was close to unstoppable in 2020, catching 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. He won virtually every award possible, including the Heisman Trophy, while also totaling 215 yards and three touchdowns in Alabama’s national championship game victory over Ohio State.
Smith is fast and lightning-quick, which means he can be explosive after the catch. Those same qualities also make him a dangerous return man. On top of his athleticism, Smith is strong on the mental side of the game, running good routes and understanding how to create separation against cornerbacks. He also has excellent hands and the ability to make contested catches.
Smith’s biggest flaw is that he’s slender. At 6’1’’ and 175 pounds, he’ll be among the lightest wide receivers in the NFL. It’s also unlikely that he’ll put on much weight or add to his frame as a pro. That could lead to some durability issues while also limiting his ability to help as a blocker.
Despite being the Heisman winner, Smith is far from a lock to be the first wide receiver selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. Former teammate Jaylen Waddle and former LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase could both go ahead of him because of concerns about Smith’s size. However, Smith does project as an electric playmaker in the NFL and is unlikely to fall outside of the top 15 picks in the NFL Draft. But where he’s selected will depend on how individual teams evaluate him compared to Chase and Waddle.