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Weighing in on Smith as a Possible Patriots First-Round Pick

The New England Patriots have been linked to Alabama QB Mac Jones for the 2021 NFL draft, but maybe it's one of his teammates who's a more logical option

There's been an awful lot of talk lately about how Alabama quarterback Mac Jones seems like a great fit for the New England Patriots, but he's far from the only top prospect from that school in the 2021 NFL draft.

And maybe, just maybe, there's one of Jones' teammate who actually might be a better fit for the Patriots in the first round come April 29.

As many as seven Alabama prospects are considered potential first-round picks this year: Jones, wide receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, running back Najee Harris, tackle Alex Leatherwood, cornerback Patrick Surtain II and defensive tackle Christian Barmore.

While any of them would be a good addition to the Patriots roster, Smith is the one who actually makes the most sense.

And Smith was exactly who SI Senior NFL Reporter Albert Breer projected to the Patriots in a mock draft he released Thursday.

"From a fit standpoint," Breer wrote, "the 170-pound Smith is perfect for the Patriots’ offense, a receiver who’s a technician capable of playing all over the field. Should Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne preclude this from happening? Did Donté Stallworth and Wes Welker preclude the Patriots from bringing in Randy Moss in 2007?"

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Along with Agholor and Bourne, who joined New England as unrestricted free agent wide receiver corps, features Julian Edelman, special teams ace Matthew Slater, Gunner Olszewski and 2019 first-round pick N'Keal Harry, who has been the subject of trade rumors.

Given where Edelman is in his NFL career, it's not unfair to suggest this group lacks a pure number 1 wide receiver, and that's where Smith would come in.

The only reason Smith would even be available at number 15 is because of his frame (he was listed in college at 6-1, 175 but said before the Alabama Pro Day he weighed 170), which might keep him a team from investing a top 10 pick on him.

Because when it comes to production, it's impossible to top what Smith did last season when he won the Heisman Trophy.

Smith caught 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns last season, capping his fabulous college career by catching 12 passes for 215 yards and three TDs in the first half of the national title game before he was sidelined with a finger injury.

Before Harry was the 32nd selection in the 2019 draft, the Patriots hadn't taken a wide receiver in the first round since 1996 when they selected Terry Glenn with the seventh pick.

It should surprise no one if the Patriots make it two in three years with Smith.