Devonta Smith is taking the world by storm. Who will draft the next NFL superstar?
Photo: PFF College
The Tide came rolling, and Devonta Smith took social media by storm. He is having himself quite the start to 2021. Last week, he was named the Heisman Trophy winner beating out his teammate Mac Jones and future 1st round pick Trevor Lawrence. He became the first receiver to win the Heisman in 30 years, and also added the Biletnikoff Award (best college receiver) and Maxwell Award to his trophy cabinet. This week, he had the game of his life in the CFP National Championship, putting up 215 yards on 12 catches and 3 touchdowns. Almost all of that came in the first half. Surely his draft stock soared to the top.
We knew it was bound to happen the Smith was going to erupt. In a crowded wide receiver room of Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Jaylen Waddle in 2019, Smith still distinguished himself as a consistent offensive threat. The combo of Tua Tagovailoa and Devonta Smith last season was picture perfect. He hauled in 68 catches for 1,256 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. He got even better this year, becoming the team's number one option. With Mac Jones, he nearly doubled his catches (117), racked up 1,856 yards, and scored a whopping 23 touchdowns.
As a football fan, you want to make comparisons in Smith's style of play and ability. He posses the lean build and explosiveness of Marvin Harrison, the size and technicality of Jerry Rice, and the speed of Tyreek Hill, but Devonta Smith is unique in his own sense, and he will for sure make a name for himself. Either way, Devonta Smith is going to be a star in the NFL. He is a playmaker who can operate the field, creates mismatches, and be versatile into fitting all sorts of offenses. His route running is second to none and has extreme ability to spread the field after a catch. All eyes are going to be where he ends, so where could he go come April?
In this century, 83 receivers have been taken in the first round. 22 of those individuals have been named to the Pro-Bowl. The highest-drafted receiver in recent time was back in 2015, where the Raiders selected Amari Cooper as the 4th pick. You could say Devonta Smith is a different breed, but obviously, his success will hinder where he lands.
Mock Drafts are circulating all across social media. Some analysts have the Jets snagging him at the number two pick, while others see him all across the top-10. The Jets have a lot of their own issues and decisions to make. After winning a pair of games and taking themselves out of the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, the question is do they draft their next "future quarterback"? It's either Justin Fields or Zach Wilson if they do make that decision. Do they stray away from a quarterback if they still have faith in Sam Darnold? They could look to protect any quarterback and draft the standout offensive lineman from Oregon in Penei Sewell. They could bolster their defense, or they could draft the explosive wide receiver. My gut says they go with a quarterback, which brings us to the most ideal landing spot for Smith.
There have been reports that the Dolphins are not too sold on Tua to be their future, which is an odd remark. They hold the 3rd pick in the draft thanks to the Texans (Tunsil Trade). Some reports think Tua and that No.3 pick will be shipped back to Houston for Deshaun Watson, while others see the Eagles landing another quarterback, whether it is Justin Fields of Ohio State or Zach Wilson of BYU. I don't think it is time to abandon Tua, it was one season and the team wouldn't take his training wheels off. An Alabama reunion of Smith and Tua would be extremely beneficial for Miami and could instill some confidence and familiarity for the young quarterback.
Photo: Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today Sports
The Bengals hold the number five selection, and they could use all sorts of help. Many believe that they will look at Sewell or have a reunion of their own with Ja'Marr Chase (LSU teammates with Burrow). At picks 6 and 7, you have the Eagles and the Lions. I have no idea what those teams are looking for but don't count it out. If one of those teams land Smith, I couldn't imagine him being too thrilled. On one end, you have a divided locker room with no sure answer at the QB (either Wentz or Hurts), and on the other, you have an aging Stafford and that's about it.
Prior to the National Championship game, there was a glimmer of hope the Smith would be available at the number 11 slot for the New York Giants. After his performance, I highly doubt that is the case. The "big three" in terms of this year's receivers on the big board are Smith, fellow Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle, and LSU's Ja'Marr Chase. You never know what teams see in certain players. A few years back you saw the Bears trade up to land Mitchell Tribusky over Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. This could be the same scenario. If the Giants have the ability to land Devonta Smith, or even trade up for him, they should highly consider that. Daniel Jones desperately needs a number one go-to guy, and Smith would shine in New York.