Draft Breakdown: Irvin Smith Jr., Tight End

By Adam L'Heureux |
Draft Breakdown: Irvin Smith Jr., Tight End

Irvin Smith Jr., Tight End, Alabama

Measurables: 6'2 242 lbs

Combine Stats:

40 Time: 4.63

Bench Reps (225 lbs.): 19

Vertical Jump: 32.5 inches

Broad Jump: 110 inches

3 Cone Drill: 7.32 Seconds

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.33 Seconds

60 Yard Shuttle: 12.44 Seconds

Career Stats:

2017: 14 Receptions, 128 Yards, 3 Touchdowns

2018: 44 Receptions, 710 Yards, 7 Touchdowns

 

Overview


Irvin Smith Jr. showed flashes of his 2018 self in the 2017 Tennessee game. In that game, he posted 3 receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown. He almost had another touchdown, but fumbled at the goal line. On the play in which he fumbled on the goal line, he showed off his great vertical speed. He's a raw player, he rounds off his routes and he's inconsistent when it comes to effort. If a team is able to utilize him properly, however, he could very well be a Pro Bowl caliber player.

 

Strengths

  • Vertical Speed

    • On this play in the National Championship Game, he quickly gets off the line and behind the linebacker in coverage. This is also one of the better cuts in a route I've seen out of him, and given it's his most recent game maybe this is proof he'll continue to improve. He is decently inexperienced, after all.

    • Sadly for Alabama, on this play the offensive line simply doesn't hold up long enough. If they had, Tua Tagovailoa would have seen Irv Smith Jr. quickly gaining separation down the middle of the field.
  • Hand placement as a blocker

    • One of the few advantages of a tight end Smith's size is that he's able to get under defensive lineman than more common 6'5" tight ends. On this play, he gets his hands inside the defensive lineman and pushes him back, allowing Damien Harris to gain an Alabama first down.
  • Catches with his hands, not his body
  • Beats linebackers in man

    • Another play in which Smith Jr. isn't actually thrown to, on the bottom of the screen he gets decent separation moving towards the sideline. Had the quarterback not opted to throw deep, Smith would have been open for a first down.
  • Is capable of breaking or avoiding tackles

    • While he still doesn't gain many yards here, he shows off some of the strength he has when he can build up speed while carrying a defender out of bounds with him.

    • Plays like these make me less concerned about his poor shuttle times. He may not be incredibly quick, but he's quick enough.
  • Very strong lead blocker

    • His blocking at the line of scrimmage can be inconsistent, but he's incredible as a lead blocker. A fullback would be proud of this one.

    • Another lead block and another nice gain for the Alabama offense. And, wow, I can hear that hit even in the gif.
  • Great at running seams up the middle and finding a pocket between the linebackers and safeties in cover 2

    • One of his few touchdowns from his first season. He does a perfect job of getting in between everyone where the quarterback can make an easy throw down the middle of the field.
  • Can make catches in traffic

    • 3rd & 12 late in the game and he's able to make a great catch with Georgia defenders all around him. Even under pressure, he makes the contested catch here.

    • Another play from the Tennessee game in his first year, he makes a great adjustment down the field to catch the ball in traffic. Once again, there's three defenders around him and nobody else in Crimson.

Weaknesses

  • Lacks consistent effort, especially when blocking

    • Smith is at the bottom of the screen walking next to the defender covering him. I point that out, because had Damien Harris broken free he still wouldn't have been able to break a big play because Smith's defender is completely unblocked.

    • On this play, Smith Jr. is in pass protection. I understand that that's not exactly natural for a primarily vertical threat tight end. But, I know that he knows this is unacceptable. While Tagovailoa is being chased by a defender and before he throws away the ball, Smith Jr. stands up and seemingly gives up on the play.

    • He actually gets the block here initially. The problem is that he doesn't maintain it. He does enough to get the first down. It'd be one thing if this was a particularly fast running back. But, they run about the same forty time. If he maintains this block it could be a much larger gain.
  • For as little touches as he has in his career, he has a notable tendency to fumble

    • Other than the fumble, this is actually an excellent play. Good thing he was able to get on top of it as well. He had another fumble against Arkansas that one of his teammates picked up and returned for a touchdown. Overall, he's gotten lucky with his fumbles. I'm not sure if that trend continues. 
  • Size. 6'2" and 242 lbs is pretty unremarkable for an NFL Tight End
  • Quickness. While it doesn't show up too much on film, for how small he is he performed poorly in the shuttles. Especially the 60 yard shuttle. 
  • Inconsistent on pulls and getting to the second level

    • On this play, Smith messes up by letting the defender get to the outside of him. The problem with this is that the ball is on the outside of him. Thankfully for Smith, the back isn't tackled by his assigned defender.

    • Smith likely goes to the hole he was assigned to on this play, but he needs to be able to adjust and realize that the defender is already past the hole. As a result of him failing to realize this, two defenders are able to meet the running back in the back field on a crucial third down.

Conclusion

  • Final Thoughts: Irvin Smith's destination and draft spot will likely have a lot to do with the team's scheme. He's built best for an offense that plays vertically. He could also allow the offense to go without a fullback given his talented lead blocking.
  • Grade: Late-first or second rounder.
  • Pro Comparison: Trey Burton, TE, Bears

Listen to The Brew


Your go-to source for original Indianapolis Colts analysis, bringing you up to game-time updates on game-days. Join hosts Aaron Coffey, Alec Usleaman, Alex Griffin, Trace Vaughn & several others as they give their honest and informed thoughts and opinions on the Colts, the NFL and other popular topics.



Comments


Widget is loading comments...