2021 NFL Draft predictions for the 2020 Heisman finalists

2021 NFL Draft prospects Mac Jones #10 and DeVonta Smith #6 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports)
2021 NFL Draft prospects Mac Jones #10 and DeVonta Smith #6 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports) /
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DeVonta Smith, 2021 NFL Draft
2021 NFL Draft prospect DeVonta Smith #6 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports) /

The only non-quarterback finalist this year is an electric playmaker from Alabama.

Devonta Smith, Wide Receiver, Alabama

Season Overview: Alabama wide-out Devonta Smith set the college football world on fire this season, absolutely dominating his opponents from the start. While heavily involved all year, he showed he easily has what it takes to be the focal point of an elite offense when his fellow receiver, Jaylen Waddle, went down with a gruesome ankle injury early on this year. Smith immediately stepped up for his injured teammate and rocketed off to a great season that, arguably, makes him the favorite to win the 2020 Heisman Trophy (this is my personal winner too).

Smith caught the ball 98 times this season for 1,511 yards and 17 touchdowns while also adding 11 yards and another touchdown on three carries. He was able to carve up opposing defenses by running smooth routes, making lightning-quick cuts, and using his excellent acceleration to burst by defensive backs when the route called for it. Smith was oftentimes able to quickly gain separation on his routes and provided his quarterback with a sure-handed target that could make boundary and contested catches as well as do some lethal damage in the open field with the ball in his hands.

2021 NFL Draft Predictions: One of the players to best help his draft stock this season, Devonta Smith went from a fringe first-round to second-round player to a sure-fire top-15 pick and likely top-10 pick. Numerous teams are picking inside the top 10-15 picks in the 2021 draft that would love to add a dynamic player like Smith to their roster. Right now, as the current draft order stands, his absolute worst-case scenario would be going 15th overall to the New England Patriots.

Despite just selecting a first-round receiver a couple of years ago, the Patriots are in dire need of a reliable and electric wide-out to be the go-to guy in their offense. It’s unlikely Smith slips this far, but if he does he should easily be the pick for New England. While it’s unlikely due to LSU’s Jamaar Chase currently being the widely viewed top wide-out in the draft, Smith could see his name called as early as third overall when the Cincinnati Bengals are on the clock.

While the Bengals should take an offensive tackle at third overall, they may choose to give quarterback Joe Burrow an elite receiver instead. Smith’s most likely draft range however falls between picks six and 11 (as the draft order currently stands). With the Miami Dolphins (sixth), Philadelphia Eagles (seventh), New York Giants (10th), and Detroit Lions (11th) all picking in that range, it’d be a shock to see him fall past the 11th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.