POSITION: Tight End
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 243 lbs
Speed: Top gear of speed is very solid, but takes some time for him to get there. Doesn’t necessarily have an explosive first step, but not a slow one either. Utilizes his speed most effectively when running vertical routes.
Ball Skills: Natural catcher of the football. Uses optimal diamond hand positioning and rarely caught passes with his body, However, didn’t fully extend or catch many balls that weren’t put on/close to his frame. Not saying he can’t do it, just didn’t see a whole lot of it on his tape.
Routing Running: Has some of the sweetest feet in the class when getting in and out of his breaks. Illustrated numerous reps of him making defenders fall with his releases/route stems. Does an excellent job of sinking his hips when breaking off his routes as well. Utilizes stutter steps and head fakes to really manipulate his opponents. Can also separate with subtle uses of contact. Arguably runs the best routes in this Tight End class.
Blocking: He isn’t on TJ Hockenson’s level as a blocker, but he is pretty darn close. Utilizes great blocking technique. Routinely latches onto his hip opponents’ chest plate, sinks his hips and drives. Loves to put people in the dirt as well. Illustrates a mean streak when blocking. Also, demonstrates a superb ability to engage with second level defenders and maintain his block.
YAC Ability: More of possession receiver, than one who is going to create to positive yardage on his own. However, contact balance is solid. Shown the ability to break tackles but isn’t going to make many defenders miss.
Contested Catch Ability: Illustrated minimal reps in contested catch situations. Yet, doesn’t seem to have the elite ball skills or jumping ability to consistently win with this trait. Not saying he can’t be successful in these situations, but relies on winning with separation more times than not.
Awareness: Smart player who is sound technically as a route runner and blocker. Also very spatially aware in terms of finding the soft spots in zone coverage.
Competitive Toughness: Extremely competitive in every phase of playing Tight End. Is a mauler as a blocker and gives tremendous effort when competing for the football. Fair to say that he plays with a “junk yard dog mentality.”
Best Trait: Route Running
Worst Trait: Contested Catch Ability
Best Film: LSU (2018)
Worst Film: Clemson (2019)
It is difficult to find any major short comings in Irv Smith’s game. He is a well rounded receiver with elite route running skills and an excellent blocker. Teams will also be intrigued with his versatility that allows him to line up all over the field. With that said, when ball parking a ceiling for Smith, a multiple pro bowl caliber career is definitely reasonable to project. I don’t know if he has the athleticism or dynamic ability to be a truly elite player (top 3 Tight End in the league/All Pro), but wouldn’t say it’s completely out of the question either. Regardless, he should make an instant impact to which ever team that drafts him, and be a very good pro for years to come.
- Ledyard, Jon. “2019 NFL Draft Player Profile: Irv Smith.” The Draft Network, 7 Feb. 2019, thedraftnetwork.com/2019/02/07/2019-nfl-draft-player-profile-irv-smith/.