Yes-yes, sure-sure … top-tier wide receiver prospect DeVonta Smith is 166 pounds — I know. And I don’t give a damn.
I’m sick of hearing about his weight, but likely not nearly as much as he is. The freaking Heisman Trophy winner, ahem, has done nothing but prove to be an elite talent, whether he looks the way you want him to or not.
Yes, the list of mega talented NFL wide receivers in his weight range is not very deep, to say the least. Since 2000, the best example is probably DeSean Jackson, who showed up to the 2008 NFL Combine out of Cal at 169 pounds. Over the course of his career, he’s compiled 10,656 receiving yards and has terrorized defenses with his deep-threat abilities. Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison was 182 pounds at his Pro Day, and Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson was lighter as well, and wasn’t having any of the blather on Smith’s weight:
Behind those three is a list of others — Emmanuel Sanders (186 lbs), Ted Ginn (180 lbs), Cole Beasley (174 lbs), Dennis Northcutt (175 lbs), John Brown (178 lbs), and so on. These receivers typically fit in a few specific buckets in terms of NFL roles — small, speedy deep threats, return specialists, or slot receivers.
DeVonta Smith, however, is so much more than a role player. And his size be damned, he beats press coverage regularly. According to Yahoo’s Matt Harmon, Smith beat press coverage 78.9% of the time in 2020, which was the best in this draft class. Size is not the only indicator of beating press coverage — being good also helps. You can’t press what you can’t touch, and Smith possesses a truly rare ability to release at the line of the scrimmage. Oh, and he did so while playing in the SEC.
He is fully deserving of his fantastic “Slim Reaper” moniker.
I do not say this lightly — Smith is a rout-running savant. His effortless playing style coupled with his quiet intensity and insanely high football IQ sets him apart. Despite the pressure to play at a higher weight, I think there’s something to be said for Smith choosing his own path, and feeling better about his playing style at the weight he is.
“In high school, I used to feel some type of way when people tell me that, but nah, I don’t really care. I mean, if somebody says that, I’m gonna look at them and laugh. But I mean, it is what it is. At the end of the day I know that when I get on the field and I line up, I’m gonna do what I gotta do,” Smith said in an interview with Bleacher Report.
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who currently has former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and is in need of some offensive weapons in this draft class, has said some very nice things about Smith.
“You can nitpick all you want about a guy’s size,” Flores said in January. “A good player is a good player is a good player. I think we all can see that. This guy is a very good player.”
Continue to doubt the Heisman winner, who dominated the best defenses in college football, whether in the SEC or in the college football playoffs, all you want. He has the makeup of a future star in the NFL, and could easily find himself considered as one of the best route runners in the league in short order.