If you watched Tuesday’s College Football Playoff National Championship between Alabama and Ohio State, you know that DeVonta Smith stood out more than any player on the field in the title game. The 2020 Heisman Trophy winner served as the Crimson Tide’s top receiver for the entirety of his final collegiate season, and is considered to be one of the top pass-catchers in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
Smith caught 12 passes for 215 yards and three scores on Monday before exiting the game early because of a hand injury but surprisingly isn’t seen as the best wideout available in every circle. There’s one other player who could challenge him for the top spot at his position: LSU product Ja’Marr Chase was one of the most electric players in college football before opting out of the 2020 season, and will be considered among the best of the best when the draft rolls around. Did Smith do enough in the championship game to help him become the first receiver selected? Let’s take a look at where he could end up coming off the board.
What teams could draft Smith in the first round?
The Dolphins have the third overall pick in the draft thanks to a trade they made with the Houston Texans over the offseason and Smith could be reunited with Tua Tagovailoa, who was his quarterback during his breakout season at Alabama. Miami’s passing attack was far from dynamic with Tagovailoa under center this past season but the second-year quarterback is bound to get better. The Dolphins could use a player to complement DeVante Parker but might also be eying a Deshaun Watson trade. If Tua stays put Smith could be a great option.
Many thought that the Jets would go after a receiver like CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy in last year’s draft but they opted to fortify their offensive line by adding Mekhi Becton. They probably won’t be in a position to draft Trevor Lawrence with the No. 2 pick so adding firepower to the offense out wide could be the next best thing. New York tallied the second-fewest passing yards in the NFL last season and adding a player with Smith’s YAC potential to a receiving corps that’s led by Jamison Crowder could add a lot more excitement to the offense.
The Bengals have two promising, young wideouts in Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins but will likely lose the declining A.J. Green in free agency this offseason. The passing attack flourished at times with Joe Burrow running the show but the quarterback is recovering from an ACL tear he suffered late in his rookie year. Cincinnati made it clear that its offense will be dependent on the pass so compiling a trio of playmakers could help them build a dynasty for the future. It’s very possible that Smith will still be on the board when the Bengals pick fifth in the first round.