2021 NFL DRAFT

Will DeVonta Smith slide after true height, weight unveiled?

2021 NFL DRAFT

Is a wide receiver who's built more like a football fan than a football player worth a Top 10 pick?

That's the question draft analysts are asking after Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith's real height and weight were revealed Wednesday.

At Alabama, he was listed at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds. At Alabama's Pro Day, Smith declined to be measured or weighed, but said his weight was 170 pounds.

Here's how Smith is officially measured, according to SI's Albert Breer:

Hmm. I think the idea of being worried about weight is a little overblown, considering athletes normally undergo significant physique changes when they enter the league - remember skinny Joel Embiid? - but 166 pounds certainly is slight for a 22-year-old.

Is it enough to bump him down the board to the Eagles at No. 12? And if he gets there ... will the Eagles ignore the size and select the talent?

Smith had an exceptional season in 2020 with Alabama, catching 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns en route to the Heisman. Completely insane numbers, often just running away from defenders. The question, of course, is whether Smith can do that at the next level, where defenders are much better at keeping contact and bumping smaller wide receivers off their routes.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank examined the size question earlier this week:

"Really, the only question about DeVonta Smith is whether he’s too small. At 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, it’s fair to ask.

 

"No wide receiver that size has ever been drafted in the first half of the first round.

"Mel Kiper, who has called Smith one of the five-best players in the draft, also acknowledged that the Alabama star “could drop a bit” because of his size."

To be fair, we have seen some receivers at this size have success in the league. Eagles fans in particular will remember a skinny dude named DeSean Jackson, who stood 5-foot-9 3/4 and weighed 169 pounds at the 2008 NFL Draft Combine, doing just fine in the pros.

But Jackson is clearly an exception to the rule rather than a blueprint, and you probably don't want to make a habit of picking undersized players.

Last year, the Eagles had just three players under 180 pounds on the roster:

  • WR DeSean Jackson (175 pounds)
  • K Jake Elliott (167 pounds)
  • RB Adrian Killins (164 pounds)

An interesting group, and not exactly encouraging.

Ultimately, this might not matter at all. Smith has an exceptional skillset as a wide receiver and he's obviously worth a high draft pick. But Smith is going to want to put on a few pounds before he takes his first hit as an NFL wideout.

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