What the Philadelphia Eagles are getting in Alabama football's DeVonta Smith in 2021 NFL Draft

James Fletcher
The Tuscaloosa News
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Heisman Trophy-winning Alabama football wide receiver DeVonta Smith was selected 10th overall in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday by the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 2020 Heisman and Maxwell Award winner from Amite City, Louisiana, was also named a unanimous All-American.

His first star moment at Alabama came in the 2018 national championship game against Georgia when he caught the game-winning touchdown from Tua Tagovailoa on second-and-26 in overtime.

He earned the nickname "Slim Reaper" at Alabama for his thin frame and the constant production that led to a record-setting career.

Here is what are getting:

The positives

Smith became the first wide receiver in 29 years to win the Heisman Trophy and the third player from Alabama to lift the trophy.

As a senior, Smith had 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns, adding a rushing touchdown and a punt return touchdown.

He had 12 receptions for 215 yards and three touchdowns in the 2021 CFP National Championship before exiting in the third quarter with a dislocated finger.

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith holds a team jersey after he was chosen by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 10th pick in the first round of the NFL football draft Thursday April 29, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Smith has consistently won matchups against some of the top corners in the country with his technical route-running and speed, excelling out wide and in the slot.

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The negatives

The knock on Smith has always been his lack of size.

At 6-foot, 166 pounds, some analysts have expressed concern over his durability in the NFL.

He has drawn comparisons to Hall of Famer Isaac Bruce, who was measured at 5-foot-11 and 173 pounds at the 1994 combine.

Smith was not a full participant in any pre-draft workouts as he continues to rehab the surgically-repaired finger.

Final thoughts

Smith has fought against the narrative that he is too small and too thin to play football for years now; it is nothing new. He has overcome it each time.

The greatest asset he brought to Alabama was versatility. Smith would move from the slot to a position outside and on the next play motion from his spot off the line through the backfield.

In a recruiting class that included Tagovailoa, Mac Jones, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, Smith leaves Alabama as the most accomplished member of the 2017 class.

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