WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL): Amite, LA (Amite)
247 RATING: .9717
POSITION RANK: 2
Receiving: 118 catches, 2,109 yards (17.9 ypc), 23 touchdowns
Receiving: 68 catches, 1,256 yards (18.5 ypc), 14 touchdowns
DeVonta Smith Breakdown
It’s crazy to think a talented player like DeVonta Smith could be forgotten, but that’s what happens when you play on Alabama. With Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III (both off to the NFL) on the roster, Smith at times got lost in their greatness. He did, however, remind us that he can be the best receiver on the field no matter who’s out there, and he’ll get a chance to shine even more in 2020.
Smith’s on pace to break some records with the Tide, most held by former great Amari Cooper. He needs 111 catches, 1,355 yards, and nine touchdowns to hold the school records in each of those categories. To be in the same category as Cooper is impressive, but to best him would put Smith on a new level. It all starts with his speed.
Covering Smith vertically presents a challenge for many defenders, and the only way to slow him down is by getting hands on him early in the route. There are concerns about his size which can limit him off the line if he faces a physical corner. He can use quick footwork to get off the line, but he hasn’t shown consistent strength to get rid of a jam.
On top of great speed, Smith displays good speed thru his cuts. He doesn’t slow down to change directions, and that helps him create even more separation. There’s not much wasted energy in his running, and it almost looks like he’s not trying to run fast at times.
DeVonta Smith has dealt with competition during his tenure at Alabama, and guys will challenge him for catches. Still, it’s not new territory for him, and he’s already shown he can be the top target (as he did last year). His speed and routes make him tough to cover, and he just needs to prevent his man from getting their hands on him. Once he gets free, the defensive coordinators begin to worry.