DeVonta Smith
Teams should be nervous to draft Devonta Smith. By no means is the Alabama wide receiver a bad prospect. That doesn’t mean risk isn’t there. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

The 2021 NFL Draft starts with Miami with the third overall pick. Will, the Dolphins pick Penei Sewell to secure a franchise left tackle or try to reunite Tua Tagovailoa with DeVonta Smith? There is no question that Smith is talented, however, I’m not sure I’d be able to pull the trigger on the Alabama receiver and feel confident I made the right choice.

Teams should be nervous as hell to draft DeVonta Smith in the top 5. I’m not sitting here and telling you the Heisman Trophy winner stinks. The bottom line is that the NFL Draft is a game full of box checking and projection. If you use a top five pick on someone, you have to feel 100 percent confident that player will wind up in the Hall of Fame. I’m not sure how you can feel that way about the Bama product.

I want to use Devin White as an example because that’s what a top 5 pick should represent. Everything was a checked box. White was a can’t miss, home run prospect in every sense of the word. The bottom line is, you can poke holes in Smith all day.

Show me all of the 170 pound receivers in the Hall of Fame? They don’t exist. Smith has drawn comps to Marvin Harrison but we’re talking about a small landing strip. We’re banking on the outlier in a situation where you can’t miss. It’s a tough pill to swallow on draft day.

The other piece that we’re failing to remember is that Ja’Marr Chase still exists. A year ago, Chase was the slam dunk WR1 for the 2021 NFL Draft. Yes, that guy from LSU that pretty much slaughtered every single corner he went up against? Yes, him.

People have very short memories but as a sophomore, Chase notched 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. That was while Justin Jefferson was on the same field. Not only was Jefferson on the opposite side of the field, Chase proved he was the better player. Jefferson came into the league with Kirk Cousins throwing him the ball and broke the single season yards record for a rookie.

Are we sure we’re using the right context clues here? Chase had nothing to prove. He didn’t need to play this year. He is what a can’t miss prospect looks like. DeVonta Smith a year ago was thought of to be slightly better than Henry Ruggs and then exploded as a Senior. We’re still two years out from seeing that version of Chase… I know… scary.

I’m not saying Smith is a bad prospect. What I am saying is that when you’re scouting, it’s easy to punch holes into his resume. 170 pounds? Smith dominated as a Senior. Is there much room for growth? Are we sure he’s the best Alabama wide receiver in the same draft? That Jaylen Waddle guy is pretty special in his own right. Why not trade down, collect more draft picks, and go with Waddle?

If you pick DeVonta Smith in the 2021 NFL Draft, he better wear a gold jacket when he hangs up the cleats. I’m not ready to go and guarantee that.

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