3. Irv Smith Jr., Alabama
When it comes to a combination of speed, route running, blocking and winning, look no further than Alabama product Irv Smith Jr.
In producing 710 receiving yards on 44 catches in his final season with the Crimson Tide, Smith Jr.’s 16.3 yards per catch and seven touchdowns made him one of the top SEC offensive players.
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At 6-foot-4, 241 pounds, his size, athleticism and physicality make him a player the New England Patriots should definitely target in the second round, although most NFL mock drafts have him going at No. 32 to the Patriots.
As a top tight end prospect who is not getting as much attention as Iowa’s Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson, Smith does have room for growth since he has only started one year at Alabama. His combined skills along with that untapped potential makes him an intriguing prospect for the defending Super Bowl champions.
Another key factor is that he has played under Nick Saban who happens to be a good friend of Bill Belichick. There is no doubt the two great football minds have talked about Irv Smith Jr. and how he may fit the Patriots current need at tight end following the retirement of Rob Gronkowski.