DeVonta Smith NFL Draft 2021 (Alabama)
@CPGM Juice – DeVonta Smith’s competitive spirit is off the charts. Despite an incredibly talented and crowded Crimson Tide receiver room, Smith has distinguished himself thoughout his career at Alabama. In 2019, Smith proved he was every bit as explosive as former teammates Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs. In 2020, the DeVonta Smith NFL Draft Stock has increased substantially; seemingly taking his game to a new level in the absence of fellow first round prospect Jaylen Waddle (injury).
DeVonta Smith has been deployed throughout the formation at the Z (flanker) position, X (split end) or in the Slot during his senior/junior campaigns. The odds on favorite to win the 2020 Biletnikoff Award has excellent hands and superb body control. The Louisiana Native routinely stacks defensive backs and creates separation off the line of scrimmage and/or at the route stem. DeVonta possesses easy speed, is fluid in and out of breaks and accelerates smoothly as a ball-carrier. Detractors will point to Smith’s slight frame but his ability to beat man-to-man coverage isn’t predicated on play strength. Still, DeVonta plays bigger than his weight might suggest. I anticpate Smith will add 8 – 12 pounds as he increases his play strength to deal with more consistent press coverage at the next level.
’19 tape watched: South Carolina, LSU, Auburn
’20 tape watched: Georgia, Mississippi State, Auburn, LSU
Strenghts & Areas of Opportunity according to @CPGM Drew
- A blur off the LOS, if you don’t get a hand on him w/ no help over the top it’s a recipe for disaster.
- SPEED SPEED SPEED!!!
- Beat Stingley from LSU a good bit due to not getting a hand on him.
- When (rarely) challenged in press he was able to beat it with the same move over and over. This speaks to defenders’ fear of his speed and quickness.
- Excellent burst and acceleration off the line into his route.
- Tracks the ball well in the air.
- Not known as an “above the rim” player but attacks football at highest point.
- Hit or miss on contested catches (wasn’t a high number of those due to him gaining separation routinely); improved significantly in 2020.
- Was never really challenged in press; typically faced bail technique or off coverage.
Next Level (NFL) Prognostication
@CPGM Juice – While DeVonta Smith has the requisite football acumen and ability to play every wide receiver position I think he’d be most effective deployed at the Z and slot positions. An NFL team would do DeVonta and themselves a disservice if they simply lined him up on the back side of the formation (X); allowing the opposition to roll coverage and use the boundary as an extra defender. Give Smith a two-way go and/or put him in motion to neutralize aggressive press coverage and safety help.
I anticipate DeVonta Smith making an immediate impact at the next level given his special teams prowess and previous exposure to a prototypical, West Coast offense. He’s advanced in nearly every facet of the game and catches everything. The ball has a tendency to find him. It appears that his talent is only exceeded by his apparent competitiveness which NFL coaches and front office personnel will love. The full route tree is within Smith’s purview as well. Furthermore, DeVonta’s ability to consistently beat man-to-man coverage, navigate zone coverage, and take the top off the defense leads me to believe he can absolutely serve as the focal point of an NFL team’s passing game.
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