Most football fans saw DeVonta Smith tearing up college football last year, leading Alabama to a national championship and winning the Heisman -- first wideout to do so since Desmond Howard. But Smith probably won't be the first receiver drafted next month, and size has everything to do with it.
Alabama listed him at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, and unlike some athletes who try to exaggerate their height or weight, Smith is going the other way. He says he weighs 170 pounds, and isn't concerned about teams doubting him because of it.
"I feel like it's not going to be no different than college," he said. "I played against some of the best in college. I played in the SEC. I feel like that's the toughest conference there is. I know a lot of people that's bigger than me and have more problems than me. I'm not worried about it at all."
Smith will certainly be a first-round pick, but it's not surprising teams will have some pause before selecting him that early. There have been only four wide receivers weighing less than 180 pounds selected in the first round this century, and none lived up to that status. R. Jay Soward, Ted Ginn, Tavon Austin and Hollywood Brown two years ago -- that's the list.
That being said, some similarly built wide receivers have slipped out of the first round, and shouldn't have. Second-rounder DeSean Jackson and third-rounders T.Y. Hilton and John Brown; those guys have outperformed where they've been selected. Hilton and Jackson have been legit No. 1s. Smith could be one of those types of players. Other undersized wideouts from the last 1o years (182-pound Tyler Lockett and 186-pound Emmanuel Sanders, both third-rounders) have had multiple top-25 seasons.
Table shows wideouts selected in the first three rounds over the past decade that tipped the scales at 190 pounds or less. Final column shows their top fantasy season. Players with top-25 finishes are in bold (parentheses show the number of such seasons each has had). Smith and another expected first-rounder, Alabama's Jaylen Waddle, are included.
|SMALLER WIDE RECEIVERS, FIRST THREE ROUNDS (2010-PRESENT)|
|2019||1||25||Marquise Brown, Balt.||Oklahoma||5.09||166||36th|
|2011||2||44||Titus Young, Det.||Boise State||5.11||174||45th|
|2021||?||?||DeVonta Smith, ??||Alabama||6.01||175||??|
|2013||1||8||Tavon Austin, St.L.||West Virginia||5.08||176||27th|
|2020||2||46||KJ Hamler, Den.||Penn State||5.09||178||88th|
|2012||3||92||T.Y. Hilton, Ind.||Florida International||5.09||178||5th (5)|
|2014||3||91||John Brown, Ariz.||Pittsburg State (Kan.)||5.10||179||20th (2)|
|2013||3||78||Marquise Goodwin, Buff.||Texas||5.09||179||31st|
|2011||3||83||Jerrel Jernigan, NYG||Troy (Ala.)||5.09||181||87th|
|2021||?||?||Jaylen Waddle, ??||Alabama||5.10||182||??|
|2015||3||69||Tyler Lockett, Sea.||Kansas State||5.10||182||8th (3)|
|2013||3||79||Markus Wheaton, Pitt.||Oregon State||5.11||182||45th|
|2019||3||66||Diontae Johnson, Pitt.||Toledo||5.10||183||21st (1)|
|2014||2||45||Paul Richardson, Sea.||Colorado||6.00||183||39th|
|2011||3||82||Vincent Brown, S.D.||San Diego State||5.11||184||78th|
|2015||1||29||Phillip Dorsett, Ind.||Miami||5.10||185||71st|
|2018||2||44||Dante Pettis, S.F.||Washington||6.00||186||71st|
|2016||1||21||Will Fuller, Hou.||Notre Dame||6.00||186||32nd|
|2010||3||82||Emmanuel Sanders, Pitt.||Southern Methodist||5.11||186||5th (4)|
|2019||2||56||Mecole Hardman, K.C.||Georgia||5.10||187||59th|
|2019||2||62||Andy Isabella , Ariz.||Massachusetts||5.09||188||114th|
|2017||1||9||John Ross, Cin.||Washington||5.11||188||74th|
|2018||1||26||Calvin Ridley, Atl.||Alabama||6.01||189||5th (2)|
|2014||1||20||Brandin Cooks, N.O.||Oregon State||5.10||189||10th (5)|
|2016||1||15||Corey Coleman, Clev.||Baylor||5.11||190||82nd|
|2013||2||41||Robert Woods, Buff.||Southern Cal||6.00||190||11th (3)|