Virginia Tech Senior
Has good size and nice hands to attack the ball in the air. Does a good job making catches in traffic due to his size and is a nice security blanket over the middle because he's a large target. Uses his size well after the catch and can be a load there. Shows enough speed to get down the seam and make some plays on the intermediate routes. Has good pop as an inline blocker and is able to get position and leverage. Can get the seal block against the lineman. Does a very good job against linebackers on the edge, locking on and overpowering them with his strength. Can make blocks in space, and delivers blow when working as an H-back and lead blocker.
Not a natural receiver and will drop some passes from time to time. Needs to polish up his route-running, looking to sit over the middle rather than try to separate normally. Not sudden athlete and not going to always make plays after the catch. Is a less effective blocker when you ask him to get position in space as an H-back. Needs to improve his hand placement and struggles to lock on against defensive linemen.
Smith has the size, hands, and athleticism you like to see in a tight end prospect. He is a reliable, outlet receiver that can really impact as a No. 2 guy at the next level. He's not fully polished as a blocker as he mostly relies on his superior size and strength to get position, but has good potential to be very good down the road once he polishes up his technique and hands. He's got enough offensive upside that he can be a capable starter, but not the type of guy that is going to wow you on offense. Had his best year as a senior, his only one as the No. 1 guy, where he caught 20 passes and 5 touchdowns as a nice security blanket for Tyrod Taylor.
Smith is the type of starting tight end that is more like Reggie Kelly or Robert Royal, that his biggest impact is as a blocker rather than a receiver. He does flash the athletic tools to be used there on offense, but he's more of the 20-30 catch tight end than the guy that can push for 50 catches in most NFL offenses. His real upside is as a blocker, and he's good enough that he can come in right away and compete as a No. 2 guy in that role. And going forward, as he polishes up his game, he has the potential to be one of the better blocking tight ends in the league. He'll fit best on a team that runs a lot of two-tight end sets, where he'll be the lesser guy in the passing game. His athleticism is such that he can also get looks as an H-back, but he needs more polish there. And as a lead blocker out of the backfield, that facet of his game won't develop until down the road. Smith is likely to only be a role player, but in a run-first offense that makes significant use of two-tight end sets, he'll be a valuable role player.
While Smith projects to the same role as Justin Peelle in Atlanta, because of his superior athleticism, he might be a better option in the passing game than Peelle. Like Peelle, even in a starting role, he won't be a go-to option, but he can use his size to make plays on third downs and in the redzone. Working opposite a player of Gonzo's caliber, he should work fine as the second tight end that mostly blocks.
For a team looking for a quality blocking No. 2, probably the highest he should go is the fourth round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Body Control: 3.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.