Brian Flores, Chris Grier are about to get a close look at the draft’s best receiver

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Adam H. Beasley
·3 min read
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Take your pick: Deshaun Watson or Tua Tagovailoa and Devonta Smith?

Not in fantasy football. Real football.

It’s a debate that will define the Miami Dolphins’ offseason.

But in the end, it doesn’t matter what we think.

It only matters what general manager Chris Grier, coach Brian Flores and team owner Stephen Ross think.

Because if the Dolphins do trade for Watson, they’re almost certainly not getting Smith, the Heisman Trophy winner and arguably best all-around player in the 2021 draft.

They will surely want all the information possible before making a such franchise-defining decision.

And two weeks from now, they’ll know a lot more about Smith than they do today.

Why? Smith, the electric Alabama receiver, has accepted a invitation to attend next week’s Senior Bowl — with Flores and his staff coaching one of the two teams.

There’s a catch, however: Smith, less than a week removed from finger surgery. will not participate in any on-field work.

“Excited to add Heisman winner Devonta Smith to this year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl,” Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy wrote on Twitter Monday. “He will not be cleared to participate in any on-field activities due to [finger] injury but he will go thru team meetings with Coach Flo’s staff and interview with decision-makers from all 32 clubs.”

Flores agreed recently to coach the annual all-star showcase and will be on the Gulf Coast for the whole week.

The other receivers assigned to Flores’ squad: South Dakota State’s Cade Johnson; UCLA’s Demetric Felton; Michigan’s Nico Collins; Notre Dame’s Ben Skowronek; Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace; Western Michigan’s D’wayne Eskridge; Arizona State’s Frank Darby; and Louisville’s Dez Fitzpatrick.

Of that group, Smith is the only receiver with a first-round grade, according to CBSSports.com. Wallace could go in the second round.

But just by agreeing to attend, Smith instantly turns the game’s star power way up. He’s the biggest name to participate since Baker Mayfield in 2018.

And Smith’s decision to attend suggests he thinks he can improve an already sky-high draft rating. The Dolphins are absolutely in play to take him third overall — assuming they don’t use the pick in a trade with the Texans for Watson, who seemingly wants out.

Smith is less than a week removed from surgery to fix his dislocated right index finger, an injury that kept him out of the second half of the national title game.

Despite missing half the game, he still caught 12 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns in Alabama’s easy 52-24 win over Ohio State at Hard Rock Stadium.