As the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, DeVonta Smith was widely considered one of the top wideout options heading into last night’s NFL Draft first round. So was his former Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle.
Selected with the No. 6 overall pick to the Miami Dolphins, Waddle walked up to the stage while Smith waited patiently in the green room. Smith was picked up six picks later with the No. 12 overall selection to the Philadelphia Eagles.
While the former Crimson Tide superstar could’ve been upset about sliding behind his teammate in the draft order, he instead shared a humble and supportive response.
“I’m happy for him. That’s my brother,” Smith said when asked about Waddle last night. “It almost brought me to tears just hearing his name called. Just everything that he’s been through, the commitment he had day in and day out, when he got injured to come back. I mean, seeing him get picked in front of me, I was happy as hell.
“It’s just exciting to see somebody go through that and get picked at number six, it was definitely a blessing and I’m happy for him.”
In a follow up question to this response, Smith was asked if he was hoping to be drafted before his teammate.
“It didn’t matter to me,” he answered. “It’s a blessing for both of us to be in this situation.”
After starting off the season with 25 receptions, 557 yards and four touchdowns on a ridiculous 22.3 yards per catch through four games, Waddle suffered a near season-ending ankle injury on the opening kickoff against Tennessee in Week 5. After a full season of rehab, the gutsy wideout/return man limped onto the field for Alabama’s national championship win — notching three receptions for 34 yards.
In Waddle’s absence, Smith shined like no other star in the college game. Logging 1,856 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season, the 6-foot-1, 166 lbs standout became just the fourth wide receiver in college football history to claim a Heisman Trophy.
Regardless of the order in which they were selected, both of these guys are expected to have solid NFL careers.