- Son of Irv Smith, former first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints. Uncle Ed Smith played in the NFL from 1997-1999 and won a Super Bowl.
- Played at Brother Martin High School in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Was determined to be a wide receiver in High School.
- Four-star recruit (ESPN)
- Caught 31 passes his senior year for 558 yards and four touchdowns
- Mackey Award Semifinalist
- 28 of his catches went for a first down or a touchdown
- 11 receptions went for 20+ yards or more
- Arkansas St.
- Clemson (National Championship Game)
- Ole Miss
- Texas A&M
- Georgia (National Championship Game)
- Year – Junior
- Height – 6’4″
- Weight – 246 pounds
Smith wears #82 in the following clips
- Well-proportioned muscular build
- Straight-line speed to challenge and beat linebackers’ coverage abilities and stress the integrity of zone coverage down the field
- Very good agility in the short area
- Versatility to play in-line, off-line, or as an H-back
- Consistently gets clean releases off the line of scrimmage with well- designed plans and short area quickness
- Processes road bumps at the first and second level and does a good job of avoiding that traffic in order to stay near top speed while laying his route stem down
- Patient route runner, cognizant of his teammate’s route and the timing of the combination
- Uses physicality at the top of his routes to separate, but also flashes shoulder shakes prior to bursting away from safeties
- Utilized a lot on under routes off of play-action
- Uses his quickness to outflank linebackers to the flats. Once in the open field and at top speed, he has the ability to take it the distance and is a tough tackle.
Yards after catch monster
- Highly effective weapon on play-action because of how tough he is to bring down. Had 20 receptions (7th in class), 345 yards (4th in class), 215 yards after the catch (5th in class) and two touchdowns in the play-action game.
- Leg strength and drive helps him break tackles
- Reliable pass catcher; only three drops on 67 catchable targets over the span of his career.
- Highlight reel catches are few and far between, but the ability is there.
- Appears to have decent body control mid-air
- Top tier run blocker in this class
- Fits up blocks as well as anyone
- Physicality and competitiveness elevates when 1-on-1
- Able to carry out blocks from traditional in-line position, off-line, or from a backfield alignment
- Elite grip and hand placement. Locks on and keeps feet moving to give his running back options.
- In harmony with teammates on combo blocks
- Sifts through traffic on counter treys, puts his target in his crosshairs, and uncoils his hips into blocks to create movement
- Ability to change style of block as a lead blocker
- Has the feet to mirror edge rushers when asked to pass protect
“Irv is a really good player. He’s a good receiver, he’s a good off-the-ball blocker, he’s a good on-the-ball blocker, and he’s got really good hands. He’s a good receiver and he’s fast enough to be a threat down the field.” HC Nick Saban
- Average height and weight
- Appears to be tight-hipped and lacks overall flexibility
- Top speed is good, but getting to it is cumbersome
- Displays average in-game agility overall when running routes
- Safeties and corners aren’t threatened by his athleticism. They’re able to get their hands on him, imitate his movements and/or eliminate him as an option.
- Definition of routes is lacking, lacks precision
- Doesn’t always run routes like they are live or are an actual option. You see this a lot when he isn’t the primary target; it seems like he is loafing.
- Runs vanilla routes, no creativity to his route stems, even when matched up 1-on-1
- Rarely attacks leverage of coverage or defenders. Comes across as indecisive.
- Lag between top of the route and getting his head around
- Physicality and aggressiveness drops off on split zone blocks, braces for contact rather than driving through the opponent
- Pad level not nearly as good when asked to pass block
When scouts present their reports on Smith, they should feel very confident in their work. Smith’s game translates very well to the next level. He is a dual purpose tight end who can be a top-three target for a team in the passing game but also a run blocker who can win at the point of attack. He line up anywhere on the field and run most of the routes in the route tree. Whether in-line in the box or out wide, he consistently gains clean releases because of his release plan and short area quickness. He is able to process and avoid any traffic within the gauntlet of the front seven defenders, understands how important the timing of his route is within the structure of the play concept, and will get physical with cover guys at the top of routes to separate. His speed is good enough to run by a majority of linebackers in man coverage but can also stress the integrity of zone defenses down the field. Where his game will immediately flash on Sundays is in the short area. Smith thrived in Bama’s play-action game. He was routinely running under routes across the formation on play-fakes. As Smith crossed the field on these plays, his quickness allowed him to separate from underneath defenders as they process run to pass. Next thing you know, Smith is out the back door with the ball in his hand, and that’s where he does damage. He’s a tough guy to wrestle down because of his leg strength and drive, but he can also use his short area twitch to make a guy miss. Where coaches will really fall in love with Smith is in the run game. He is essentially an extension of the offensive line. He is smooth in fitting up run defenders, shoots his hands to the proper landmarks, and then relies on his feet to stay engaged. Don’t have a fullback? No worries, Smith can line up as an H-back and perform blocks in any run concept in today’s spread run game. He is a quick processor, sorts through the traffic, inserts into the line of scrimmage, and uncoils his hips on defenders.
But he isn’t without weaknesses or question marks. While he was seen as a tremendous athlete at the collegiate level and will likely test well at the Combine, I expected his in-game athleticism to flash more. A lot of his production came on those under routes and sails (deep outs/corners) off of play-action, where he wasn’t necessarily open because of his play. His route running is overrated. At times, it looked like he simply ran routes how they were drawn up, which isn’t wrong, but I expected more. There wasn’t any eye candy or extra flavor used to get open. Developing an understanding of how to attack coverages, especially leverage, will be critical at the next level if he is going to become a top tight end in the league. His agility and lack of nuance in his routes allowed safeties and corners to cover him up. Bama tried isolating him in 3×1 formations while Smith was in-line, but he was only rarely able to separate. Too often Smith allowed defenders to get their hands on him to take speed off the route, thereby forcing the QB to look elsewhere. What made it worse is that his route would then basically die without any sort of fight from him. It was disappointing to see, given how much fire he shows when it’s time to block in the run game.
In the end, Smith graded out as a late second-rounder whose game is easily scouted and transferable to the next level. His balanced skill-set makes him valuable to just about every style of offense in the league. He is reliable as a run blocker and can make guys miss in the short area, but he also has the speed to really threaten the structure of coverages in the intermediate and deep areas. As far as tight ends go, he is what I would consider a safe prospect.