DeVonta Smith Answers: Tua or Mac?
As it turns out, arguably the greatest wide receiver in Alabama Crimson Tide history has his preference when it comes to his collegiate quarterback, and it's Mac Jones.
According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the Heisman Trophy winner was asked at the Senior Bowl by a team the simple question: Tua Tagovailoa or Mac Jones. Breer says Smith without hesitation named his most recent quarterback.
"He was bold and definitive about it, as I heard it," Breer said in his Monday Morning Quarterback column. "And of course, it’s logical to some degree," mentioning Jones threw nearly every pass to Smith during his record-smashing 2020 season.
Over his four years at Alabama, where he amassed the most receptions, yards and
touchdowns in Crimson Tide history, Smith caught passes from five quarterbacks. He caught a touchdown from each one:
- 24 from Mac Jones
- 18 from Tua Tagovailoa
- 2 from Jalen Hurts
- 1 from Taulia Tagovailoa
- 1 from Bryce Young
It certainly makes sense for Smith to think so highly of the quarterback that gave him the most success. Still, Smith did not have to compete for targets for the latter half of the 2020 season, and prior to then he shared the field with Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Jaylen Waddle. Even though Smith proved to be arguably, and at the least statistically better than his fellow "Ryde Outs," those competing targets took a few opportunities. After all, Smith once shared a five touchdown day with Tua Tagovailoa in 2019 versus Ole Miss.
Oh yeah, Smith also caught one of the most important passes in Alabama Crimson Tide and college football history from Tagovailoa: "2nd & 26."
Though the NFL Draft is still two months away, teams could be already using smokescreens looking to hurt Smith's draft stock to improve their own chances of selecting the top-rated receiver prospect. This idea, of course, stems from the projection that the Miami Dolphins could be looking to use the 3rd-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to reunite Smith with Tagovailoa. A team selecting after Miami could be looking to sow seeds of animosity between Smith and Tagovailoa ahead of selection night.
It could also be the Dolphins organization spreading the smoke, aiming to keep teams from trading with the New York Jets for the 2nd-overall selection to select Smith and subsequently making those teams believe there's no interest from Miami to select a receiver that doesn't believe its quarterback is the best in the league.
For any team with a short memory, these attempts may pay off. However, it should be noted that on live national television, Smith told the NFL Network and the entire world that he and Tagovialoa had already discussed how they'd like to team up again.
But this is the NFL offseason, and we could all use a little content and conversation. And when it comes to the NFL Draft, teams love to have the masses stirring to create as much confusion as possible.
Just like Smith choosing Jones, can you really blame them?
Alabama Crimson Tide All-Time Receiving Leaderboard