The 2019 class has long been heralded as the Wave of Savior Receivers, but there are some top end tight ends on the way too. Alabama product, Irv Smith, looks to be one of them.
A key to productivity at the tight end possession is remaining on the field, even in “obvious” running situations; in other words, you better be able to block. Smith is a bull in the run game. Whenever Alabama’s ground-attack was in full swing, Smith was there, setting the edge. Not only did Smith block from an in-line position, he also lined up at H-back and fullback to lead block in short yardage. His versatility is not limited to blocking though; Irv Smith ran routes from the slot, split wide, as well as from in-line and H-back. He has above average hands, and although he wasn’t always targeted, his route-running was good enough to consistently get open vs zones and man, (especially on slants.) Smith is fast enough to attack the seam and looks like a matchup nightmare at the next level.
Smith’s biggest foible is that he sometimes gets sucked into contact on his routes and can’t break free again. (Since one of his primary avenues to get open on slant routes is to step into the defender before separating, Smith could have a problem in the NFL, where there is somewhat of a “let them play” attitude with tight ends going over the middle of the field.)
Two way tight ends are coveted by the NFL— and through the transitive property, by dynasty owners. Irv Smith is all that and then some. And the best part is, he’s still relatively under-the-radar.