Ohio State, WR
Outstanding straight line athlete, and should vie for the fastest 40 yard dash time in this month’s combine. Possesses the straight line speed to take the top off the defense, whether in the slot or on the outside. Chews up turf with powerful strides and can thwart angles taken by safeties to come over the top. Did not make many moves laterally, which would suggest he either has stiff hips or that he is not particularly agile. Used as a gunner on special teams and could contribute immediately in that role.
Opportunities to catch the football throughout his career were not plentiful, but was able to come down with the football when he was targeted. Focus did not seem to be an issue and was capable of plucking the football outside of his frame and did not suffer from an abundance of drops. Hands could use more reps to further test his pass catching ability, however. Aggressive when playing the ball and will attack the ball in the air. Shows very good adjustment and body control in the end zone and along the sideline.
Lacked a great deal of variety as a route runner when on the field which inhibited his production. Ran little else but fly and hitch routes, rarely testing the middle or intermediate levels of the field. Was not often asked to make inward or outward cut. Lacks the strength to defeat the jam, but was rarely ever pressed at the line and showed tempo releasing. Frequently given cushion out of respect for his speed. A true deep threat who is a nightmare to cover due to his speed and jump ball ability. Tracks the deep ball well and uses subtle moves on vertical routes to get some separation.
After Catch: D+
Did not get many opportunities to make plays after the catch. An in ordinate number of his receptions were for touchdowns or for big gains when he was clear of defenders. Lacks much wiggle and is mostly a straight line runner. Doesn’t have much functional strength to slip tackles or break them outright.
Ability as a blocker overall is below average. Is distinctly unphysical and prefers to simply run interference downfield. Has a leaner frame than his listed height and weight suggest.
Red Flags: Raw Talent
Bottom Line: Devin Smith may very well have been college football’s most dangerous weapon this past season, but his lack of skill versatility makes him a one-trick pony. Smith is the best vertical threat in this class but offers little else, and may likely be drafted for that one play he can make in a game, along with his special teams ability. Skill-wise Smith compares to Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who is a pure big-play receiver, but in a smaller body akin to former Georgia receiver and Broncos selection Tavarres King.
Comparison: Martavis Bryant
Grade: 8.5 (2nd Round)
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