MOBILE, Ala. — The only knock surrounding Alabama star receiver DeVonta Smith is how his slender, yet dynamic frame will hold up at the NFL level.
But it appears Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores is willing to overlook Smith’s stature.
And Smith would love another chance to play with Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa if afforded the opportunity.
“We talked about it would be nice to run it back again,” Smith said with a smile Tuesday on NFL Network. “Not too much, but somewhat talked about it.”
Remember the touchdown pass Tagovailoa threw to help Alabama win the national championship in 2017? It was Smith — the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner and one of the most talented players in the 2021 NFL draft field — who caught the pass.
After Alabama won the national title earlier this month in Miami, Tagovailoa posted a photo of him and Smith together on his Instagram account, signaling his desire to play together again, too.
Tagovailoa and Smith could reunite and be a dynamic duo for the Dolphins for years to come if Miami considers selecting Smith with the No. 3 pick in the draft in April.
And if Tagovailoa remains with the team despite rampant rumors about Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson’s potential availability in a trade this offseason.
If both end up with Miami, there may be some durability concerns with Smith, who was listed as 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds at Alabama during his senior year.
Although Smith declined to have his height and weight taken during Senior Bowl weigh-ins on Tuesday, his weight could potentially improve during the NFL draft process and during his NFL career.
And it does not seem to be a major factor in the Dolphins’ thoughts of Smith after several days together at the Senior Bowl this week.
“Look, this guy is a very, very good player,” Flores said of Smith after Tuesday’s Senior Bowl practice.
“If you’re a good player, you can nitpick all you want about a guy’s size. Good players are good players. I think we can all see that. This guy is a very good player. He made a lot of big plays in college. He made a lot of plays in the big games, biggest games of the year.”
Although Senior Bowl players typically do not stray away from the weigh-in portions of the festivities, Smith’s decision not to participate in Tuesday’s weigh-in does provide him with additional time to add weight during the NFL draft process.
He did submit hand (9 3/8 inches), arm (31 1/2) and wingspan (78 1/2) measurements.
Smith, who weighed around 140 pounds in high school, will instead have his measurements taken during Alabama’s Pro Day, which likely will be held in late March.
Still, there’s no questioning his on-field talent.
Smith was named college football’s best player this past season, winning the Heisman after recording 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and 23 receiving touchdowns. He also ran in a touchdown and scored on a punt return last season.
He accounted for 235 catches in college for 3,965 yards with 46 receiving touchdowns in four seasons.
Smith even had 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns in the first half of Alabama’s 52-24 win over Ohio State in the national title game earlier this month — and did not even play in the second half.
Smith suffered a dislocated index finger, which he reportedly had surgery on after the game. It was also one of the few injuries he had at Alabama — after not missing a single game in his college career due to injury.
Smith has the finger wrapped heavily and stood off to the side during Senior Bowl practice on Tuesday, as he will not participate in any on-field work this week.
Still, Smith’s attendance gives the Dolphins — who are coaching the Senior Bowl and seeking game-changing playmakers on offense — an opportunity to get to know him more intimately before the draft.
During practice, Dolphins assistant coaches and personnel members took their turns having some small talk with Smith on the sidelines.
Flores — who went out of his way to defend criticism of Smith’s weight — seems to like him already, too.
“He’s a very good player, and it’s been good getting to know him, too,” Flores said of Smith.
“He’s a good kid, too.”
Deen writes for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel