2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: DeVonta Smith

  • DeVonta Smith, 6-1/175

  • Wide Receiver

  • Alabama

  • DeVonta Smith Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Natural wide receiver; pure football player
  • Playmaker
  • Phenomenal route-runner; sudden out of breaks
  • Explosive out of cuts
  • Threat to score on any touch
  • Tremendous run-after-the-catch skills
  • Elusive in the open field
  • Big-play speed
  • Forces teams to keep a safety deep
  • Impacts game plans
  • Quick release off of the line
  • First-step quickness
  • Stretches the defense
  • Body control
  • Quick feet
  • Leaping ability
  • Late hands
  • High points the ball well
  • Excellent hands; very reliable to make the catch
  • Instinctive; great feel
  • Killer mentality; lethal player who can dominate defenses
  • Dangerous on 50-50 passes
  • Red-zone and third-down weapon
  • Quality blocker
  • Adept at finding soft spots in zone
  • Can defeat double teams
  • Good athleticism
  • Durable
  • Experienced; ready to contribute quickly
  • Excelled against elite competition
  • Potential to be an elite No. 1 receiver in the NFL

  • Weaknesses:
  • Thin frame
  • Decent, but not great, height

  • Summary: Last spring when speaking with some NFL scouts about Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs, one astute area scout called DeVonta Smith was the most natural receiver of that group, including Jaylen Waddle. That scout called Smith the most consistent of the group and the one with the best hands. Thanks to Jeudy and Ruggs departing for the NFL – and being top-16 picks last April – and Waddle being injured for a large portion of the 2020 season, Smith took over as Alabama’s No. 1 receiver and produced an incredible season.

    Smith was behind Calvin Ridley, Jeudy and Ruggs on the depth chart, so it took some time for him to break out. As a freshman, Smith caught eight passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns. He earned more playing time as a sophomore and totaled 42 catches for 693 yards with six touchdowns. In 2019, Smith collected 68 receptions for 1,256 yards with 14 touchdowns. He put together a record-setting game of 11 receptions for 274 yards and five touchdowns against Ole Miss. Smith could have been a late first- or second-round pick had he entered the 2020 NFL Draft, but he wisely decided to return to school, and he has made the most of the opportunity.

    Smith totaled 117 catches for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2020, plus won the Heisman Trophy. He dominated every opponent on the Alabama schedule. The only game in which he did not produce a huge stat line as a receiver – against Arkansas -, he returned a punt for a touchdown.

    Smith is deadly, dynamic weapon who could has the potential to be a No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL. He has the speed to get vertical and can burn defenses deep down the field. Smith is a phenomenal route-runner who is very sudden in and out of breaks. Cornerbacks are practically incapable of running with him, and his fabulous route-running leads to him creating separation. On top of getting open, Smith is superb after the catch, possessing moves in the open field and a second gear to run away from defenders. Along with being a vertical threat, Smith should be a good third-down weapon in the NFL given his ability to get open on short to intermediate routes.

    While he isn’t the tallest of receivers, Smith tracks the ball extremely well, and he uses late hands while high pointing the ball well to make catches over defensive backs. Smith is a versatile receiver who can run the route tree and line up at a variety of places. He has excellent feel and instincts to break off his route and get open for his quarterback when plays break down. One of the best words to describe a player in scouting lingo is calling him a “Killer,” and Smith has earned that praise from team sources. Smith absolutely killed the opposition in 2020, dominating in brutal fashion. He is a winner and lethal on the football field.

    Smith really is a complete package as a receiver and is ready for the next level. It would not surprise if Smith hits the ground running and is emerging as a dynamic receiver by the end of his rookie season. Even with his lean frame, Smith looks like a future top-10 pick for the 2021 NFL Draft, and his dominant 2020 has him as one of the most sought after prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft.

    Smith could fit well in the NFL as a X – split end – receiver who works along the sideline and challenges teams vertically. He also is very dangerous on crossing routes and working the middle of the field, but given that he isn’t a big receiver, his pro team may want to limit him from doing too much duty in the middle of the field.

    In the NFL, Smith could be a true No. 1 receiver who could become a perennial Pro Bowler. He is worthy of being a top-10 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.

    Player Comparison: Antonio Brown Smith is a difficult player to make a comparison for because of his build, but in terms of the style of play, Smith reminds me of Brown during his glory years with the Steelers. Smith’s tremendous route-running, speed, and incredible yards-after-the-catch skills remind me of that Antonio Brown. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Brown is undersized as well. I could see Smith being a similar pro receiver to Brown.


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