The 2019 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Alabama tight end Irv Smith was one of the top receivers for Alabama on their way to the National Championship Game this season.
Position: Tight End
2018 stats: 44 receptions, 710 receiving yards, seven touchdown receptions, 16.1 yards per catch
Size: 6-foot-2, 242 pounds
Smith was rarely used at Alabama until the 2018 season, but like most Alabama players who sit and wait their turn, stepped up to the challenge when his name was called. His play in the 2018 season has made him one of the top tight ends in the draft class.
As a member of the Crimson Tide, Smith caught 58 passes for 838 yards and 10 touchdowns over two seasons. He had to sit behind O.J. Howard during his freshman season, but then started to receive more playing time. Smith only registered 14 catches as a sophomore, but took a huge step forward for the 2018 season. He was recognized as an All-American by some outlets and was second-team All-SEC as voted on by the coaches.
Smith is one of the many one-year wonders in this draft class, but he played extremely well in his one big year of production. He will be one of the first tight ends selected in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Smith is one of the best blockers out of tight ends in the 2019 NFL Draft class. In run blocking, he executes his assignment and has adequate strength to move defenders. Even though he wasn’t asked to pass protect a lot, he did a good job when asked to pass block.
He is also a good route-runner. Smith runs crisp routes and has a decent route tree. Against man coverage, he can separate from linebackers and safeties. When facing zone coverage, he will find the soft spot in the zone and make the catch.
Once he gets the ball in his hands, he is solid at running after the catch. He has good power and is hard to tackle. With that, Smith is a big-play threat and showed that he could bust any play for a big gain on numerous occasions in 2018.
Smith is not the biggest tight end. It doesn’t affect his blocking, but it does limit his catch rating. NFL executives will be paying attention to his combine measurements, as Alabama listed him at 6-foot-4. If he measures shorter than that, more NFL teams may move him down their draft boards.
At Alabama, he wasn’t thrown to when he was well-covered. Smith didn’t show the ability to make contested catches, but he also wasn’t given the opportunity to show that ability. He will have to make contested catches to be a good tight end, so that will be something he’ll have to prove once he gets playing time.
Like many other prospects, Smith only has one big year of production. He had fewer than 200 receiving yards in the 2017 season. He’ll need to show more consistency over games and years at the NFL level to be a successful tight end.
Projected Draft Range: First round-Third round