Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith is damn serious about making it in the NFL. So serious that there is at least one article outlining his seriousness.
Smith is the second rated safety behind Mark Barron heading into Thursday night. Unlike Stephen Hill, Smith didn’t wait for the Scouting Combine to impress NFL scouts. His week at the Senior Bowl was lauded as one of the best in recent memory.
The emergence of athletic freaks at the tight end position has been covered Ad Nauseam. The safeties who cover them have to be bigger and stronger than their predecessors. Like Barron, Smith fits that mould.
Weight: 215 Pounds
Born: February 2, 1989
40-yard dash: 4.57
Vertical jump: 34 inch
Broad jump: 122 inch
3 Cone Drill: 6.63
20 yd Shuttle: 4.12
Bench Press: 19 reps at 225 Pounds
Arm length: 32 5/8 inches
Hands: 10 1/4 inches
2011: 13 GP 90 Tackles 3 TFL 10 PBU
2010: 13 GP 93 Tackles 0.5 TFL 7 PBU 7 Int
2009: 12 GP 69 Tackles 6.5 TFL 4 PBU
2008: 13 GP 57 Tackles 8.5 TFL 3.5 Sacks 7 PBU
What the experts say
Isn’t a guy you want to trust to run with receivers down the field. However, because of his solid natural range and instincts, I can see him getting over the top and making plays in a center field type role as an NFL strong safety.
Smith looks like a good NFL safety to patrol the deep part of the field. He should be able to handle coverage responsibilities on running backs coming out of the backfield or tight ends. Smith also figures to be solid in run support. There is demand at the position, and Smith is one of the few safety prospects who looks like he could play quickly. He also projects to be a long-term starter. It is possible that he breaks into late in the first round, but at worst, he should be an early second-round pick.
Some have labeled Smith as a ballhawk, but I do not see that. When asked to play the deep middle, Smith looks stiff. His instincts are not bad and he reads plays well, but he really is not a rangy defender. His stiffness shows up as a tackler in space. In traffic, however, Smith displays excellent wrap-up tackling technique.
I see him late first-round, but more probably in the top half of the second round. Somebody’s going to get a steal with Harrison Smith.
Looks the part with prototypical size and strength for a strong safety … long arms with a filled-out frame. Extremely strong with natural power to make punishing hits. Physical striker who enjoys contact. Fills the run lanes hard and is a downhill athlete with an aggressive nature at the point of attack. Plays fast and closes in a flash with conviction and determination
Very consistent, savvy, instinctive, interchangeable safety with the competitiveness and football-playing temperament to command a secondary and factor readily against the run and pass. Offers comfort as the last line of defense.
While he shows up as a solid athlete in every other aspect of his game, his technique in man coverage will expose some inconsistencies in his footwork, as he often relies too heavily on his recover ability and overall length to make plays on the ball. Though he is a somewhat fluid athlete, he can be beaten by quick-twitch and explosive movers.
Smith should be a second-round pick, and it has been reported that San Diego Chargers general manager A.J Smith is enamored with him. Coincidentally, the Bolts are in desperate need of a strong safety. Don’t be surprised if the GM trades up to secure Smith’s services.
Both Green Bay and New England have been linked with Smith. Both teams pick near the end of the first round, Smith’s expected landing spot. Ideally, A.J Smith would like to pair Eric Weddle with Mark Barron, but if he can’t trade up for the Alabama product don’t be surprised if the Chargers sneak back into the first round for Smith.