Irv Smith Jr 2019 NFL Draft Profile

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Irv Smith
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Irv Smith Jr. #82 of the Alabama Crimson Tide makes a reception against the Clemson Tigers during the College Football Playoff National Championship held at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. The Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 44-16. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

Overview
Position: Tight end
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 245 pounds
School: Alabama Crimson Tide

Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash
: 4.63 seconds (tied for third-best among tight ends)
Bench press: 19 reps
Vertical jump: 32.5 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 2 inches
Three-cone drill: 7.32 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.33 seconds
60-yard shuttle: 12.44 seconds

Irv Smith Jr 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Alabama Crimson Tide tight end Irv Smith Jr. is looking to follow in his fathers’ footsteps. The son of New Orleans Saints 1993 first-round pick Irv Smith Sr., Smith Jr. is looking to make his own path in the National Football League. Smith initially committed to Texas A&M, but ultimately eschewed the Aggies to play under Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Smith enters the 2019 NFL Draft on the heels of a strong 2018 campaign. Appearing in 15 games, the tight end recorded 44 receptions for 710 yards and seven touchdowns while providing strong work in the run game. While it was only his second season of meaningful game time, he made it count and established himself as one of the top tight ends in the nation.

During the 2017 season, Smith finished with a more subdued 14 receptions for 128 yards and three touchdowns. However, Alabama’s offense as a whole struggled throughout the 2017 season. Smith did everything he was asked to do when called upon, and 2018 helped to prove that his sophomore success wasn’t due to small sample size. Just about every team in the league needs a tight end, so Smith should be in high demand come the NFL Draft.

Strengths

  • Skilled route runner, especially for the tight end position;
  • High reception-to-touchdown ratio;
  • Speed plays well on seam routes;
  • Physical player who doesn’t shy away from contact;
  • Capable of opening holes as a run blocker;
  • A highly athletic player capable of making the most of his natural ability.

Weaknesses

  • Average size for the tight end position;
  • Pass protection ability is unknown, as he usually ran routes on passing plays;
  • Smaller catch radius than one would like;
  • Struggles to high-point catches and doesn’t have the skill set to consistently win contested passes;
  • A one-speed player can create predictability on routes.

NFL Comparison: Martellus Bennett

Teams With Need at Position: New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, Cincinnati Bengals

Draft Projection: Rounds one to two

Bottom Line

Irv Smith Jr is one of the best tight ends in the 2019 draft class. A gifted route-runner, Smith has the ability to get open at just about any level of the field. His speed makes him a natural threat down the seam, and his 10 touchdowns on 58 collegiate receptions show that he can get open in the red zone. On top of that, Smith could very well be the best run-blocking tight end in the entire draft. He’s not as good of a dual-threat tight end as Rob Gronkowski, but he should contribute in both the pass and run game.

While he’s a fantastic athlete, Smith isn’t the biggest tight end in the draft. Because of this, he won’t be able to consistently haul in tight passes in small windows. He has a relatively small catch radius, but that might improve with time and more reps. Additionally, we don’t know how good of a pass blocker he is, as Smith typically was running routes any time Alabama threw the ball.

Wherever Smith goes, he should be able to compete and ultimately win a day one starting job. The NFL tight end landscape is barren, and Smith is one of the rare players capable of making a difference as a run blocker and a pass catcher. His average size keeps him from being a top-15 prospect, but Smith brings just about everything else you’d want in a tight end.

Main photo:
Embed from Getty Images

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