View photos of the Vikings new TE Irv Smith Jr. from Alabama selected in the second round.
EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings on Friday drafted Alabama tight end Irv Smith, Jr., with the 50th overall pick in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
The 6-foot-2, 237-pounder caught 44 receptions for 710 yards (16.1 yards per reception) and seven touchdowns in 15 games.
Of those catches, 28 gained a first down or scored a touchdown, and 11 receptions gained 20 or more yards.
Smith was named to the All-SEC Second Team by coaches.
In 38 career games, Smith totaled 58 receptions for 838 yards and 10 touchdowns, and 33 of those receptions gained a first down or scored a touchdown.
Smith’s father was drafted 20th overall by the New Orleans Saints in 1993. He played in 66 games for the Saints and also spent a season apiece with the 49ers and Browns.
Click here to read Smith’s Prospect Profile.
NFL Media draft experts Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis immediately broke down the selection of Smith.
“Right there, that is awesome,” Jeremiah said when seeing an emotional image of the older and younger Smiths hug on a couch during a party with family and friends. “Sixteen yards per catch, Charles, I mean this guy can get down the field.”
Davis responded: “That will help out Kirk Cousins, but remember, going to Minnesota, [Head Coach] Mike Zimmer has made no bones about it, they’re going to run the football this year.”
Davis also called Smith a “more-than-willing blocker at Alabama.”
The Crimson Tide averaged 250.6 rushing yards per game during Smith’s junior season in 2017 en route to winning the College Football Playoff National Title. That season included 496 rushing yards in a game against Vanderbilt.
Vikings Director of College Scouting Jamaal Stephenson told Twin Cities media members Smith is “a perfect fit for our new scheme offensively, what they want to do in terms of a mismatch guy.”
“He’s an F sort of tight end, a guy who we can move around,” Stephenson said. “We can line him up wide, we can line him up in tight, we can use him in the backfield, so he has a lot of versatility. And he’s a great kid. Another kid just like [first-round pick Garrett] Bradbury – A-plus character, tough guy, so we’re very happy to add him.”
Smith described his versatility during a conference call with media members.
“That’s really what I pride myself on, mostly,” Smith said. “You want to be a tight end, all the best tight ends in the NFL and all the greats, they’re able to do both – run block and make plays in the passing game. It opens a lot for you, and it helps the team in all phases of the game, so that’s something I pride myself on and am going to improve on.”
Minnesota started the three-day NFL Draft by selecting North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury with the 18th overall pick.
NFL.com Player Bio
Smith's father played at Notre Dame before entering the NFL as a first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 1993. He was a Class 5A honorable mention All-Louisiana pick out of New Orleans' Brother Martin High School before signing with the Tide as a four-star recruit and top 10 tight end prospect nationally. Smith played as a reserve tight end as a true freshman in 2016, but did not catch any passes in nine games. He had more of a role in Alabama's title-winning 2017 season, starting 4 of 14 games played and catching 14 throws for 128 yards (9.1 average) and three scores. Smith garnered second-team All-SEC honors for his play as a junior, catching 44 passes for 710 yards (16.1 average) and seven touchdowns for the national runner-ups.
Smith is still green in terms of overall experience, which shows up in run-blocking and route-running, but he has plenty of talent and is likely to get much better in both areas. He has combination tight end talent but really flashes as a move blocker at fullback or wingback spots. His buildup speed sets him apart as a big, field-stretching option and once he gets rolling after the catch. O.J. Howard was bigger, and a better athlete, but like Howard, Smith offers Pro Bowl potential as a well-rounded tight end prospect.
- Decent hand placement as in-line blocker
- Good footwork to reach and secure the edge
- Fluid and rhythmic with his timing up to second-level targets
- Effective lead blocker as an H-back or fullback
- Speed to create immediate strain in the seam or downfield
- Might be too much for linebackers to handle in man
- Extensive collection of routes took him to all areas of the field
- Good route strength pushing through the contact
- Offers sturdy target in the middle of the field
- Can post up tight coverage out of his breaks
- Hand strength to secure contested catches
- Able to elevate and compete in-air
- Drags tacklers for additional yards after catch
- Needs to add mass and upper-body strength for blocking duties
- Doesn't always block with consistent effort and strain
- Can overstep his landmark as run blocker
- Needs to play faster more consistently
- Rounded routes allow coverage shortcuts to catch point
- Feet are a little heavy getting into breaks, causing delays to open
- Rarely works back to the throw
- Not a natural hands catcher and fights the football
- Slows way down when turning to find football
- Lacks short-area wiggle for quick catch and run