Mel Kiper Says DeVonta Smith Is '1 of the Best Route-Runners I've Scouted'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith celebrates after scoring against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

There may be concerns around the NFL about DeVonta Smith's size, but ESPN's Mel Kiper says he is "one of the best route-runners I've scouted."

The renowned draft guru's latest mock draft has Smith going seventh overall to the Detroit Lions, with Kiper writing the Lions will likely select the top wideout on the board given their lack of depth at the position.

Smith and Ja'Marr Chase are widely considered the top two receivers in this class and potential top-five selections. 

Listed at 6'1" and 175 pounds at Alabama, Smith revealed Monday that he currently weighs 170 pounds—making him one of the lightest first-round wideouts in recent history. Marquise Brown, taken 25th overall in 2019, is the only first-round receiver lighter than Smith since 1999.

"I feel like it's not going to be any different than college. I have played in the SEC. I feel like it's the toughest conference there is," Smith said. "I know a lot of people that are bigger than me that have more problems than me, so I'm not worried about it at all."

Smith became the first wide receiver since 1991 to win the Heisman last season after recording 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns while helping lead Alabama to a national championship. He recorded 12 receptions for 215 yards and three scores in a brilliant effort in the Tide's blowout win over Ohio State in the national title game.

The Lions would represent perhaps the worst football fit for Smith among top-10 teams. Detroit traded Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff in a blockbuster deal this offseason that effectively swapped one of the game's best deep-ball throwers for someone who generally prefers staying underneath. Smith's best-case scenario would arguably be landing with the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 5 and teaming up with former rival Joe Burrow, who shined last season before suffering a torn ACL.