Typically you don’t want to select wide receivers in the first round. There are so many really good ones who are selected in the later rounds. Most recently, Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman, Chase Claypool and Gabriel Davis. But Devonta Smith sure was impressive in the national championship game last night.
It’s rare to see a wide receiver catch 15 passes for 212 yards and 3 TDs in a game. Smith did it in a half – and against a defense with a lot of players who’ll wind up in the NFL. Ohio State simply couldn’t cover him.
Smith isn’t as big as you’d like. He’s 6-foot-1 but weighs only 175. So for size, you’re looking at a slightly taller version or DeSean Jackson or Hollywood Brown. But Smith is remarkably quick with the ball in his hands. He showed that in the Notre Dame game, and again on a couple of plays last night. They get the ball to him and there’s a defender in place to get him on the ground, and Smith gets around the edge anyway.
I am aware that the two Alabama wide receives selected with top-15 picks a year ago were underwhelming as rookies – both Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy. But Smith is a lot better than either of those guys. He scored 24 touchdowns this year; that’s 6 more than the combined total of those other two a year ago.
Smith’s 24 touchdowns (including 1 run), in fact, is 4 more than any of the wide receivers chosen in the first round over the last 10 years. He also finished with 123 more receiving yards than what any of those other guys did (in their final college seasons).
I understand the size concerns, but Smith looks like he’s going to give a big boost to whatever NFL team is able to secure his services.
|FIRST-ROUND WIDE RECEIVERS (last 10 years)|
|2016||15||Corey Coleman, Clev.||Baylor||74||1,363||18.4||20|
|2017||5||Corey Davis, Tenn.||Western Michigan||97||1,500||15.5||19|
|2017||9||John Ross, Cin.||Washington||81||1,150||14.2||19|
|2014||20||Brandin Cooks, N.O.||Oregon State||128||1,730||13.5||18|
|2020||22||Justin Jefferson, Minn.||Louisiana State||111||1,540||13.9||18|
|2012||5||Justin Blackmon, Jac.||Oklahoma State||121||1,522||12.6||18|
|2013||27||DeAndre Hopkins, Hou.||Clemson||82||1,405||17.1||18|
|2015||4||Amari Cooper, Oak.||Alabama||124||1,727||13.9||16|
|2020||17||CeeDee Lamb, Dall.||Oklahoma||62||1,327||21.4||15|
|2014||28||Kelvin Benjamin, Car.||Florida State||54||1,011||18.7||15|
|2012||20||Kendall Wright, Tenn.||Baylor||108||1,663||15.4||14|
|2016||22||Josh Doctson, Wash.||Texas Christian||79||1,327||16.8||14|
|2016||21||Will Fuller, Hou.||Notre Dame||62||1,258||20.3||14|
|2014||4||Sammy Watkins, Buff.||Clemson||101||1,464||14.5||12|
|2014||7||Mike Evans, T.B.||Texas A&M||69||1,394||20.2||12|
|2015||20||Nelson Agholor, Phil.||Southern Cal||104||1,313||12.6||12|
|2013||8||Tavon Austin, St.L.||West Virginia||114||1,289||11.3||12|
|2017||7||Mike Williams, LAC||Clemson||98||1,361||13.9||11|
|2016||23||Laquon Treadwell, Minn.||Mississippi||82||1,153||14.1||11|
|2015||7||Kevin White, Chi.||West Virginia||109||1,447||13.3||10|
|2019||25||Marquise Brown, Balt.||Oklahoma||75||1,318||17.6||10|
|2020||15||Jerry Jeudy, Den.||Alabama||77||1,163||15.1||10|
|2019||32||N'Keal Harry, N.E.||Arizona State||73||1,088||14.9||10|
|2015||29||Phillip Dorsett, Ind.||Miami||36||871||24.2||10|
|2020||25||Brandon Aiyuk, S.F.||Arizona State||65||1,192||18.3||9|
|2014||12||Odell Beckham Jr., NYG||Louisiana State||59||1,152||19.5||9|
|2012||13||Michael Floyd, Ariz.||Notre Dame||100||1,147||11.5||9|
|2015||26||Breshad Perriman, Balt.||Central Florida||50||1,044||20.9||9|
|2018||24||DJ Moore, Car.||Maryland||80||1,033||12.9||9|
|2011||4||A.J. Green, Cin.||Georgia||57||848||14.9||9|
|2012||30||A.J. Jenkins, S.F.||Illinois||90||1,276||14.2||8|
|2020||12||Henry Ruggs, L.V.||Alabama||40||746||18.7||8|
|2011||6||Julio Jones, Atl.||Alabama||78||1,133||14.5||7|
|2020||21||Jalen Reagor, Phil.||Texas Christian||43||611||14.2||6|
|2018||26||Calvin Ridley, Atl.||Alabama||63||967||15.3||5|
|2015||14||DeVante Parker, Mia.||Louisville||43||855||19.9||5|
|2011||26||Jon Baldwin, K.C.||Pittsburgh||53||822||15.5||5|
|2013||29||Cordarrelle Patterson, Minn.||Tennessee||46||778||16.9||5|