The Cincinnati Bengals have tough decisions to make at the tight end position with their top three being unrestricted free agents come March 13th if not re-signed. Luckily, this is a draft class stacked with talented tight ends. Irv Smith Jr could prove to be an excellent pick for the Bengals.
It’s no secret Tyler Eifert is a huge question mark with his misfortune of injuries to remain healthy for an entire season. C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Kroft are also question marks beings they are unrestricted free agents. So there’s no guarantee they’ll be back for the 2019 season. Drafting a tight end in the NFL Draft could turn into a need depending on how the re-signing period and free agency turn out. Irv Smith Jr could be the answer to the Cincinnati Bengals questions at the tight end position.
Irv Smith Jr is a well rounded tight end who has a skill set that will translate well to the NFL game. Smith Jr won’t wow you with his speed or athletism, but he has plenty of burst to stretch the field vertically. He’s an excellent route runner creating nice separation at the top of his routs. Consistent as a pass catcher with skills to create yards after the catch. Blocking is something Smith Jr does not shy away from, as he displays superb strength and technique when being used as a mauler. He will look to finish opposing players into the ground often. It’s hard to pinpoint a concerning weakness in his game.
Irv Smith Jr lacks that elite speed and athleticism most scouts look for in a receiving tight end as well as size. His size isn’t a red flag, however, at only 6’2 high pointing the football on contested catches could be a challenge on the NFL level. If you are looking for a tight end to go over the top and bully corners in one on one matchups with pure size, Smirth Jr. is not the player to draft.
Irv Smith Jr would be an excellent target for the Bengals to come in and give their tight end position much-needed depth. Smith Jr would come in and contribute early on helping ease the workload off of frequently injured, Tyler Eifert assuming he returns in 2019. With it being very early in the draft process, projecting Smith Jr’s sweet spot in the draft is tricky. He’s seen as a mid-first rounder by some while an early second rounder by others. With huge needs at linebacker and offensive line, landing Irv Smith Jr in the second round would be ideal for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Want to read more about the Cincinnati Bengals and their TE concerns? Check out this article regarding what they should do with during the re-signing period with free agency on the horizon:
"Evaluating the Cincinnati Bengals TE Options Entering Free Agency"