Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr. is a name Patriots fans should get to know


When it comes to the tight ends in the 2019 NFL draft, Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant have been getting all the attention.

It’s for good reason, as the two are exceptional players and shined at the combine last week, but they aren't the only two star tight ends in the draft. 

Another name to keep an eye on is Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr., who could be a Patriots target at the end of the first round.

One of Smith’s best traits is his versatility, something that is hard to find these days with the best tight ends.

“I feel like just the versatility,” he said last week when asked what NFL teams should know about him. “Most tight ends, they can either block or run routes, but I feel like I bring a combination that’s going to change the position for the future of the tight end. … Every great tight end, they can catch balls and they can block. So, you need to be able to do both in the NFL. I feel like I can bring that aspect.”

Smith, who is 6-foot-4 and 241 pounds, was a starter for the first time this past season as a junior. He finished with 44 receptions for 710 yards and seven touchdowns, which could have been even more if he played for a team not as talented as Alabama. And of course, the stats don’t portray how good of a blocker he was.

“I feel like Alabama is one of the closest things to the NFL,” Smith said. “So, I feel like just having that approach that we’ve been built like that, I’m comfortable.” 

So while Hockenson and Fant have received all the attention, keep an eye on Smith when it comes to the Patriots at No. 32 overall, especially if the Iowa tight ends are off the board.