HEIGHT: 6' ¼"
— Utilizes his arms to extend and play bigger than his listed height. Outstanding hand-eye coordination allows him to snatch throws at the high point, and coming at his body, he will reach out and snatch the throw.
— Natural ball catcher at all angles. Able to snatch low throws and also come down with high ones. Combined with his athleticism, it allows him to generate more yards after catch even if the throw isn’t perfect.
— Fluid and very good athlete. Glider with excellent body control who can stop and start quickly and easily. Accelerates quickly at the beginning of routes and with the ball in his hands. Knows how to get north and split defenders as opposed to juking.
— Has the core strength and athleticism to stay balanced, even through contact. Plays surprisingly strong throughout his game, especially coming up with contested catches.
— Very competitive, can tell he loves the game. Tries to snatch throws and win 50-50 battles, even when outsized. Wants to generate as many yards as possible with the ball in his hands. Will compete while run blocking.
— Understands space and timing on his routes. Has natural spatial awareness to find open spots for scramble drill and versus zone coverages. Very good overall route runner, consistently able to get in and out of route breaks and doesn’t get “stuck.” Stays friendly to the QB on his route tops and when working across the field. Able to beat press with his body control and use of tempo that keeps CBs off-balance.
— Can align inside and out, but he would benefit most from a team with more vertical and intermediate routes if asked to play from the slot.
— Poor bulk. Rail thin. Almost literally so.
— Not laterally twitchy. Isn’t going to juke guys in tight spaces.
13 G, 117 rec., 1,856 yards, 15.9 avg., 25 total TD (1 rushing, 1 punt return)
— 2020 Heisman Trophy winner
DeVonta Smith is a smooth WR who can align on the outside or in the slot, but he does his best work on intermediate and vertical routes. Smith is a very good overall route runner at all three levels and wins with his excellent body control, balance, and route details. He understands the timing of routes and concepts and does an excellent job of keeping CBs off-balance. He also displays his balance and start-stop ability with the ball in his hands, and while he doesn’t make a ton of guys miss laterally, he can quickly accelerate and shows the ability to stop and start quickly to set up blockers or angles down the field.
Smith has as natural hands as any prospect can have—the ball sticks to his hands with zero movement, he is comfortable extending away from his body for throws at all different angles and can adjust and track deep throws over his shoulder. His play strength and ability to extend for throws comes up when he is able to come down with the ball in a crowd, making him a friendly option for QBs. While Smith never had durability issues in college, his rail-thin body type is unprecedented for a prospect, and it looks like his body is maxed out in regards to adding weight to his frame.
Any team betting on him is betting on an outlier, but Smith has the skill set to be said outlier. He has the polish, athleticism and competitiveness to contribute on Day 1 as an outside-WR option who has the upside of being one of the best WRs in the NFL.
GRADE: 8.9/10 (Immediate impact NFL starter, 1st round)
OVERALL RANK: 5/300
POSITION RANK: WR1
PRO COMPARISON: Marvin Harrison
Written by B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice