Corridor of Fame WR Isaac Bruce sees greatness in Eagles’ DeVonta Smith – NFL Nation

Hall of Fame WR Isaac Bruce sees greatness in Eagles' DeVonta Smith - NFL Nation

PHILADELPHIA — When DeVonta Smith transitioned from Heisman Trophy successful receiver to 2021 NFL draft prospect, his dimension turned the main focus.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 175 kilos on the College of Alabama’s web site, he was reportedly measured at 6-feet and 166 kilos in the course of the medical mix in April. Debate over how profitable he will be within the professionals at that stature raged in the course of the leadup to the draft, and has remained a subject of debate for the reason that Eagles chosen him with the No. 10 general decide.

On one hand, Smith’s dimension is a bit regarding. Coming into the 2021 draft, the previous seven receivers chosen within the high 10 measured an inch taller and about 35 kilos heavier (6-foot-2, 212 kilos on common) than Smith’s listed top and weight, in response to ESPN Stats & Info. The final wideout chosen within the high 10 weighing lower than 180 kilos? Tavon Austin (No. 8 general by the Rams in 2013), who hasn’t began a recreation over the previous three seasons and has not surpassed 5 receiving touchdowns in a single season.

Alternatively, Smith had no points tearing up the talent-laden SEC en path to changing into the NCAA chief in receptions (117), receiving yards (1,856) and receiving touchdowns (23) in 2020, and has been in contrast favorably to a few different smaller receivers who turned Professional Soccer Corridor of Famers: Marvin Harrison (6-foot, 185) and Isaac Bruce (6-foot, 188). Harrison was enshrined in 2016, and Bruce can be enshrined as a part of the 2020 class on August 7.

Bruce believes the comparisons to himself and Harrison are truthful.

“[Smith] is not essentially the most vocal man, you can begin there, which is one thing I like. He has large confidence when he does open his mouth, and you’ll see it in his play,” Bruce advised ESPN. “He is similar to Marvin. I can see a variety of it so far as the separation is anxious, [how he] catches the ball effectively, robust palms, and his capability to run after the catch, similar to the way in which Marvin performed.”

Bruce can relate to the skepticism Smith is dealing with, although in Bruce’s case, it got here primarily from teammates versus the general public area. He entered draft week in 1994 at 182 kilos however dropped 12 kilos in seven days because of stress over when and the place he can be chosen, weighing in at 170 kilos when chosen thirty third general by the Rams.

“My new teammates had been sort of shocked simply how small I used to be, or how I wish to say, how huge I used to be,” mentioned Bruce, who was additionally questioned concerning the degree of competitors he confronted popping out of Memphis. “I believe the necessary factor is how DeVonta sees himself. Once I appeared within the mirror, I noticed a 6-foot-5, 215-pound participant. And I believe he sees himself that manner as effectively. His recreation proves that, as a result of he performs huge.”

Bruce mentioned he did not use the doubters as motivation, however “most likely ended [up] winking at a pair guys” as soon as his play proved their assumptions defective, “and after that we turned good mates.”

One of many main changes for Bruce was getting used to greater cornerbacks within the NFL who use their physicality to re-route receivers inside 5 yards of the road of scrimmage. It took him about eight weeks to get acclimated to the velocity of the sport, and anticipates will probably be a smaller studying curve for Smith given the standard of expertise he confronted in faculty. Bruce thinks Smith will add about 10 kilos of muscle, which he believes may make Smith even sooner than he was at Alabama.

Bruce (15,208) and Harrison (14,580) rank fifth and ninth, respectively, in profession receiving yards. They proved that smarts, high quality route operating, sticky palms and separation velocity will be the system for excellent receiver play, even within the absence of perfect dimension.

Smith mentioned he hasn’t studied Bruce or Harrison’s movie fairly but, however plans on taking a better look to see what he can apply to his personal recreation.

“I’ve seen somewhat little bit of Marvin Harrison from watching soccer once I was younger,” Smith mentioned. “However to be in comparison with any person like him, I imply, that is nice, that allow’s me know that I am getting into the fitting path.”

Bruce’s teammates gave him the nickname “The Reverend” throughout his enjoying days “because it was always his intention to pick up a Bible when it was time to place his helmet down.” Fittingly, Bruce referenced a biblical character in summing up his emotions about Smith.

“Once you take a look at Samson, the entire county, the entire city was making an attempt to determine: The place did Samson get his power from? So clearly Samson could not appear like Arnold Schwarzenegger. However he has supernatural power,” Bruce mentioned. “So it is the identical factor with DeVonta. He does not look that huge, however he creates separation, he can run by you, he is good sufficient to play in a zone and discover open spots. So I like all the pieces about his recreation.”

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