2020 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: DeVonta Smith
Position: Wide Receiver
School: The University of Alabama
Weight: 175 pounds
Smooth doesn’t begin to describe his ability to craft a route. From the snap, using no wasted motion, he traces pristine patterns with timing. Plus, each route, from the snap looks similar. Like a pitcher that doesn’t tip his fastball from his slider. That is to say, corners cannot sit or predict what route occurs and they have to mirror quicker.
While Smith, listed at 175 pounds is a bit on the thin side, he gains separation in different ways at the line. When he faces a jam, Smith’s shoulder fakes draw an off-balanced press. On the other hand, seeing off-coverage, Smith will sell the route with foot discipline and shoulder twitch. Technique matters to Smith and his routes show this. His tree consists of all of the patterns, with polish and crispness.
As mentioned, Smith may not be the biggest or strongest wideout. However, he will make the contested catch, with a defender hanging off of him. In addition, he adjusts to the late throw, not breaking stride and show the ability to high point the ball, knowing the hit could happen at any time. As far as mechanics, Smith’s sudden stab leads to an immediate transfer under the arm and heading downfield. Again, to use baseball terminology, it’s one fluid motion, like a bat swing.
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Despite technical acumen, Smith will still run away from defenders in the open field. He finds that crease and accelerates effortlessly. The old adage ” if he’s even, he’s leaving applies” here. Smith can win versus singled up. The burst looks immediate and contains a third gear.
Of all his attributes, this one goes unrecognized. Balance. Smith will make the catch in traffic, jostled by the defender, maintain his feet and head downfield. Those twelve-yard posts become long touchdowns due to his ability to remain vertical. Also, among defenders, the subtle jump cuts and smaller moves leads up to extra yard
With Tyrell Williams firmly entrenched as either the lead or secondary, Smith will man the opposite. If the Raiders see him as a lead wideout, his ability to create separation underneath stands out. More importantly, his route running will catch Jon Gruden’s eye immediately. Smith will become an immediate favorite of Derek Carr. With Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow presumably occupying the slot, Smith would give the Raiders an outside receiver without costing them a first day pick.