Tue. Aug 20th, 2019

The Fantasy Fanalysts

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Irv Smith Jr.: 4 Star Fantasy Football Prospect

4 min read

Welcome to the 48 Report, a full working database including 48 of our favorite 2019 Draft Prospects. The key, however, is that we focus specifically on their ability to translate as fantasy football players. All players in the database have been/will be scored by 3 writers, and this is their article; explaining their aggregate score, as well as the score of their writer.

All categories are scored on a 1-5 scale; with 5 being the highest score a prospect can receive. The highest aggregate average scores a player can receive is 25. Articles will be posted January-April, all the way up to the draft. Ratings will be adjusted after the combine, based on measurables and after the draft, because as we all know: landing spot matters.

Irv Smith Jr (6’3”, 243) Tight End, Alabama

18 Aggregate Score (4 Star Prospect)

It is no secret that the tight end position in fantasy football has been a dumpster fire the last few years.  Once you get outside the top 5-7 options, there is minimal upside and even less consistency.  Luckily for us, this 2019 tight end class looks to be a good one! There is some nice top end talent and solid depth that looks to help improve the tight end landscape.

One of the headliners of this class is Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr.  Smith was a 3 star recruit out of New Orleans, Louisiana and played at Brother Martin.  Smith was named ALL-USA Louisiana selection and an All-State honorable mention his senior year.  After receiving offers from Memphis, Texas and Texas A&M, Smith decided to attend Alabama

College Production

After appearing in 9 games as a freshman but not recording any stats, Smith totaled 14 catches for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns his sophomore year. His role and playing time seemed inconsistent through out this season.  This past season as a junior, Smith finally started to break out.  Smith had 44 receptions for 710 yards and 7 touchdowns. Smith now owns the single-season touchdown record at Alabama by a tight end and was named to the All-SEC second team.

Now, I understand that these aren’t eye-popping stats.  However, Alabama has a history of not utilizing their tight ends a ton.  When looking at OJ Howard, who was a 1st round NFL Draft pick in 2017, he only put up 45 receptions for 595 yards and 3 touchdowns his senior year.

Overall, I think Smith showed enough this past season to warrant being one of the top tight ends in this class.  On top of his production, Smith displayed some great skills and traits that should translate to the NFL.  

Speed/Acceleration: Aggregate Score: 4.3 (Personal Score: 4)

Smith has great speed and acceleration for a tight end.  He does a great job of getting off the line of scrimmage and into his routes quickly.  His ability to accelerate and turn up-field after the catch really stood out.  He is going to make it difficult for NFL defenses to defend him.  He looks to be too fast for most linebackers and too big for most defensive back.

Route Running: Aggregate Score: 3 (Personal Score: 3)

One thing that all of our writers noted is that Smith does a good job of finding space and getting open.  Now, this may be due to his route running, but it definitely helped that he was surrounded by talent and wasn’t the focal point at Alabama. 

Smith does a good job of running short routes and turning them into 10+ yard gains.  He also displayed the ability to get open on deeper routes that were 15+ yards down field.  Smith displayed a diverse route tree, which should help him translate to the NFL.

Blocking: Aggregate Score: 2 (Personal Score: 2)

The other writers and I seemed to agree on blocking being our biggest worry about Smith’s game.  He is a smaller tight end that was very inconsistent with his blocking.  There were instances where he engaged well to create a hole and instances of getting stood straight up or missing defenders.  I think he has the tools to improve but I honestly don’t think he will be asked to do much blocking in the NFL.

Handwork/Positioning: Aggregate Score: 4 (Personal Score: 4)

Smith is a very good pass catcher with reliable hands.  He showed instances of using good handwork at the line of scrimmage to get open.  I would have liked to see him in more contested catch scenarios, but as I mentioned earlier, he was often open with little pressure.  Smith does a great job of finding open space and putting himself in position to catch the ball and get yardage after the catch.

Athleticism: Aggregate Score: 4.6 (Personal Score: 5)

Smith is a great athlete that has a ton of upside after the catch.  He combines his strength with the ability to juke defenders and make very nice cuts in the open field.  This combination makes him very difficult to take down.  He is capable of having huge plays, similar to what we saw out of George Kittle this past season.

Conclusion: 2nd round target

I am so excited to see Smith in the NFL.  Like most rookie tight ends, Smith may not make a huge impact right away.  However, Smith has some of the same skills and traits that have helped players like Evan Engram and George Kittle become significant producers in their first two seasons. I’d be extremely comfortable taking Smith anywhere in the second round, unless he lands in Kansas City or Philadelphia for some reason.  Smith is an extremely talented player that has the upside to become a great fantasy asset.

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