Nick Saban on DeVonta Smith Weight Concerns: 'He Makes Plays Against Everybody'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2021

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith looks on against Notre Dame during the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

Alabama head coach Nick Saban downplayed potential weight concerns about Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith ahead of the 2021 NFL draft.

Saban explained Friday on The Rich Eisen Show that Smith, the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner, was highly productive against SEC and College Football Playoff defenses with plenty of future NFL talent—and that's more important than any measurable.

The legendary coach said: "To look at him and say he only weighs 170 pounds as a reason not to pick him, I would say to them: 'The ball weighs 13 ounces; how big do you have to be to carry it?'" 

Smith's track record at Bama was terrific. He recorded 117 catches for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns while helping lead the Tide to the national championship in 2020. That includes three scores in the first half of the CFP title game against Ohio State before leaving in the third quarter with a hand injury.

The 22-year-old Louisiana native isn't a one-hit wonder, either. He also lead the team in receiving yards (1,256) and touchdowns (14) in 2019 on a roster that featured fellow wideouts Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, who were both first-round picks in the 2020 draft.

In all, he found the end zone 48 times in 54 games at Alabama.

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It's rare a prospect makes it through the entire draft process without some aspect of their game being questioned, however, and for Smith his size is seemingly the target.

Alabama listed him at 6'1'' and 175 pounds, but those team listings are typically quite generous for the player, and he turned down an official measurement at the Senior Bowl in January.

Smith said he's not concerned about teams that may pass on him in the draft based on size.

"It's all God's plan. I can't control what people think, so if that's what they want to do, let them do it," Smith told PFT Live last week. "Just control what I can control. When I get the opportunity to do what I can do, just make the most of my opportunity."

The two-time first-team All-SEC selection may slide a little bit in the draft because he's not the most physically imposing receiver on the board, but he's still a virtual lock to land in the first round and should be an instant-impact addition for whichever team takes him.

Smith will be a strong Rookie of the Year candidate if he lands on a roster with a proven franchise quarterback in place.