Crimson Corner: They Don't Call Him 'The Slim Reaper' For Nothing

The Alabama wide receiver opted out of measurements at this year's Senior Bowl on Tuesday, causing a storm of criticism on social media
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MOBILE, Ala. — Throughout Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith’s football-playing career, his size has always been a concern.

That is, until he steps out onto the field.

On Tuesday morning at the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl, Smith declined to be measured by the staff and instead will undergo his measurements at the Crimson Tide’s annual pro day, a day hosted by Alabama every season that measures players’ dimensions as well as records them performing drills and other football-related units of measurement such as 40-yard dash times and bench press reps.

Smith has always been on the smaller side of things. Currently on Alabama football’s website Smith is officially listed at 6’1” in height and weighs 175 pounds.

They don’t call him ‘The Slim Reaper’ for nothing.

According to Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy, Smith measuring at Alabama’s pro day was always going to be his decision.

"DeVonta Smith was here only to do interviews with NFL teams," Nagy told NFL.com. "He always planned to do his measurements at Alabama's pro day."

While Smith’s stature has never really played a factor in his success at both the high school and college level, some NFL scouts have shown concern regarding the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner and how his stature could impact his play at the professional level.

Following Tuesday’s Senior Bowl practice, Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores spoke on the criticism surrounding Smith’s size.

"You can nitpick all you want about a guy’s size," Flores said. "A good player is a good player is a good player. I think we all can see that. This guy is a very good player. He made a lot of plays in college. He made a lot of plays in big games, the biggest games of the year. Yeah, you can nitpick all day […] he’s a very good player. And it’s been good getting to know him too.

“He’s a good kid too.”

Smith will not be able to practice on the field nor participate in Saturday’s Senior Bowl due to surgery he had on a dislocated finger that he suffered late in the first half of the College Football Playoff National Championship. While he won’t be able to take part in this week’s activities, Smith is expected to be fully healthy for Alabama’s pro day and will most likely make an impact on his draft stock.

Until then, NFL scouts will have to simply sit back and wait for Smith’s results to come in.

Smith's decision to opt out of measurements makes sense. Not being fully healthy and with Alabama's pro day approaching, his decision to decline measurements until he is fully ready to suit up is understandable.

However, yesterday's decision by Smith caused quite a stir among the NFL draft community. Many questioned why he decided to decline, saying that he was 'skirting' the process or 'delaying the inevitable.'

Let's be honest here, Smith's measurements aren't why he is under so much scrutiny. Over the last four seasons with the Crimson Tide, Smith has shown time and time again that his height and weight have zero impact on his play.

For Pete's sake, he's an unanimous All-American and a Heisman Trophy and Biletnikoff Award winner. Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

Smith has always been that way. Never one to put the spotlight on himself and always the humble, quiet guy during media availability, Smith doesn't need his measurements to state the narrative. He's done that simply by wearing pads and making plays on Saturdays.

And come this fall, he'll be doing it on Sundays, too.