SideLion Report continues to examine potential targets for the Detroit Lions in the 2019 NFL Draft. Today, it’s Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr.
Analysis: The 2019 draft is just over a month away, and the Detroit Lions have certainly opened up their selection options thanks to a productive free agency period. Included in their signings, they addressed a significant need in the tight end room with the addition of former Pittsburgh Steeler Jesse James. Still, they likely will seek another talented player for the unit as they continue to revamp what was their weakest position group of 2018.
Adding a “move” tight end like Smith would be yet another significant upgrade to the corps. In a very deep tight end class, Smith is one of the strongest options available. He also has NFL bloodlines down to the position; his father played tight end in the NFL, as did his uncle, Ed Smith.
Smith Jr. comes from a program, and a conference (SEC), from which general manager Bob Quinn has selected talented players in two of his three drafts. He is somewhat undersized for the position, but he makes up for it with excellent run-after-the-catch acceleration and the ability to pick up extra yardage after contact.
He is a developing blocker; his current strength in clearing running lanes is from a fullback spot. Adding some bulk would help him improve his overall blocking ability. Considering that the Lions will be looking to run the ball efficiently under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, they will need sound blocking performances both in line and on the edge from their tight ends.
Irv Smith Jr. would give the Detroit Lions a balanced option on offense, as they continue to overhaul the tight end position. As rookies, tight ends seldom make big a impact, but a talented player like Smith would be tough for the Lions to pass up in the second round, should he be available.
Do you think that Irv Smith Jr. would be a good draft selection for the Lions? Let us know in the comments section below.