Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith doesn’t fit the typical WR1 description

The Eagles drafted Alabama star DeVonta Smith with the 10th overall pick in 2021, but here’s why he doesn’t fit the typical top wide receiver description. 

In all my years of studying the NFL Draft, I don’t know if there has ever been a great player that so many analysts were divided on. While some had DeVonta Smith as their number one receiver and a top-five player in the class, others had him as their third or even fourth wide receiver at the tail end of the first round or even in the early second round.

However, those analysts didn’t sway the Philadelphia Eagles from taking the Alabama star with the 10th overall pick this year. In fact, that appeared to be the player the team was eyeing all along.

If you put on the tape, you see a player that is utterly dominant wherever he is lined up and is extremely consistent from game to game. However, Smith has a lot of qualities about him that are far from fitting the prototypical WR1 stereotype.

DeVonta Smith has an incredibly unusual build. If you were to think of a typical receiver that stood at 6′ 1/4” with a 78 1/4” wingspan, you would probably think that Smith would weigh in the ballpark of 200 pounds. He doesn’t come anywhere close to this. Smith weighed in at the NFL Combine at an even 170 pounds – putting his weight in just the 2nd percentile of all NFL wide receivers. However, at his medical check, Smith was reported at weighing just 166 pounds. Still, there are others who think his playing weight this past season floated around 160 pounds.

DeVonta Smith and the Eagles will look to break the stereotype

There are reasons why teams require certain thresholds that players are required to meet in order to be drafted in the first round. The more chances teams are willing to take when it comes to red flags, the more likely they are to swing and miss on a player in the NFL.

As a Steelers fan, I am well aware of this. In 2013, Pittsburgh elected to take Georgia outside linebacker, Jarvis Jones, with the 17th overall pick in the NFL Draft. Jones was flagged with spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spine) which should have been enough for Pittsburgh to think twice. However, the testing numbers should have been enough for the Steelers to take Jones off their draft board.

Jones tested as a horrific athlete. He ran a 4.92-second 40-yard dash at just 6’2” and 242 pounds, according to Mockdraftable.com. This number would have been even worse if it was an official Combine number. He also tested in the 10th percentile or lower in his vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle. The Steelers ignored their athletic thresholds to take a player at a position of need, and it cost them dearly.

At the same time, other teams have had great success taking players that didn’t quite check all of the boxes. DeVonta Smith could be one of those players. Despite his incredibly thin frame, Smith has been incredibly healthy throughout his career at Alabama – playing in 13 games each of the past 3 seasons. Just because some smaller players have a tendency to get injured more often (John Ross comes to mind) doesn’t mean that all of them will.

DeVonta Smith does have a very unusual body type – especially considering that he was a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft. Still, all he does is dominate on the football field, and he will be out to break these stereotypes in an Eagles uniform in 2021.