DeVonta Smith has been one of the most heavily discussed prospects leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, but it’s not his skill or athleticism that’s in question. Rather it’s his size, or lack thereof.
The 2020 Heisman Trophy winner and star Alabama wide receiver has started to see his NFL potential doubted after concerns about his weight arose following the college season. Smith himself confirmed last week that he weighs just 170 pounds, which would rank among the lightest players in the league.
After a historic performance in his final college season, Smith still has his defenders. The 22-year-old wideout recently received one of the best possible endorsements from his former coach at Alabama, Nick Saban.
“His performance speaks for itself….Tell me how many receivers are tougher than he is,” Saban said when asked if Smith is too small for the NFL, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC.
Alabama coach Nick Saban on if WR Devonta Smith is too small for the NFL. “His performance speaks for itself….Tell me how many receivers are tougher than he is.” He was 159 pounds we he was recruited. He’s up to 170 pounds. pic.twitter.com/5uQPhzSiMc
— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) March 29, 2021
Saban also confirmed that when Smith was being recruited to come to Alabama he weighed 159 pounds. By the time he was a senior in 2020, he was up to his current weight and put together one of the best years ever seen by a college wide receiver.
On the way to Alabama’s perfect 13-0 season, Smith totaled 117 receptions for 1,862 yards and 24 touchdowns. The Crimson Tide comfortably won the National Championship and their star wide receiver claimed the Heisman Trophy.
Even still, not everyone is convinced that Smith will be a sure thing in the NFL. With the other top receiver prospect, Ja’Marr Chase, weighing in over 200 pounds, multiple analysts believe that the LSU wideout will translate better to the pros.
Whether he comes off the board before Chase or not, the former Alabama star should easily find a home this April. Given his reliable hands and breakneck speed, Smith should at least have a fair shot in the NFL before teams write him off.