Why Jets should strongly consider taking DeVonta Smith with the No. 2 pick in 2021 NFL Draft

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Scott Thompson
·4 min read
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DeVonta Smith strolls into end zone during National Championship Game
DeVonta Smith strolls into end zone during National Championship Game

DeVonta Smith was always considered a potential Top 5 pick heading into this year’s draft. He was named this season’s Heisman Trophy winner after blowing away the SEC and the rest of college football with his production for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

But after that insane performance Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship, in which Alabama steamrolled Ohio State to collect another title, would it be crazy to say the Jets should be thinking about using their No. 2 overall pick on Smith come April?

Before we get into the reasons why, we’d have to say there are far more important matters for the Jets at the moment.

First is the head coach search that takes precedent over everything right now. Once that position is filled, Joe Douglas and the new head coach can start discussing what to do about the quarterback situation (Douglas said the new coach will have a strong say in the matter).

That decision is directly related to the No. 2 overall pick, especially if a head coach believes that Sam Darnold isn’t the man he wants under center. Then, that pick can be used on a Justin Fields or Zach Wilson. And on top of that, the prospect of trading down to accumulate more draft stock is on the table, too.

But Smith just went out against a very good Ohio State defense and put up 215 yards and three touchdowns on 12 receptions -- in the first half.

The profile on Smith – a 6-foot-1, 180-pound polished route-runner with breakaway speed and unpredictably when trying to defend – was already on the table. Then, it was amplified in this senior, Heisman-winning season. And then, he did what he did against the Buckeyes, running around like it was practice. If it wasn’t for a dislocated finger early in the third quarter (he said after the game that he would “be all right”), who knows what records he might have broken?

For some Jets fans, salivating about Smith in green and white next season was understandable after watching that game. Douglas could’ve been thinking the same, knowing the Jets need more playmakers on the roster, whether that’s through free agency or the draft.

Well, Smith should be right there for the Jets at No. 2 overall after Trevor Lawrence is most likely selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars. It could also be argued that Smith would be available if the Jets were to trade down with a quarterback-needy team looking to take Fields or Wilson at No. 2 before other teams get their turn.

The tricky team to watch, though, is the Miami Dolphins. They have their young quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, and could use some receiving help despite players like WR DeVante Parker and TE Mike Gesicki already being on the roster. They could also address the offensive line with Oregon’s Penei Sewell the consensus top tackle in this year’s class.

This is of course all speculative. But it’s the conversations Douglas and the rest of the Jets’ front office must be considering. Smith did his part in raising his draft stock 1,000 fold because of his historic senior campaign. Monday night might have even cemented his spot in the Top 5.

Yes, Smith’s size is the one trait that experts like to harp on because he is undersized for an NFL wide receiver. But his unpredictably, which starts at the line of scrimmage and develops as his route is near complete, is what sets him apart. Even the most physical cornerbacks don’t know what his next move is going to be, and that’s why there often appears to be miles between him and the defender when the ball is thrown.

Smith checks all the boxes of a dynamic player who has No. 1 wide receiver written all over him. The Jets desperately need one of those. If Darnold is still their guy, then maybe not waiting to see how the draft unfolds and simply taking Smith at No. 2 is what Gang Green should do.

At the end of day, other dominos need to fall first before we can truly know what the Jets’ offseason plan is. But Smith’s ultimate cap to his college career has forced this scenario on New York because of the potential impact he can make right away for the franchise.