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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
The Dolphins seem to be doing the two for one things these days. In free agency they let Landry go and they signed two starting wide receivers. Now, they added a second tight end in Durham Smythe ... a player who loves to finish his blocks. Smythe has the mindset of an offensive lineman, and that is why they brought in Anthony Fasano last year. The Dolphins want a blocker. While Smythe is not a receiving threat as he needs to work getting separation, he is a bruiser down the middle of the field and does not mind the contact. Personally, I would have liked for Miami to have drafted a QB, RB, or DT, and I do believe they will address one of them with their remaining draft picks. Smythe is pretty much a blocking tight end.
Durham Smythe-TE-Notre Dame
6-5⅜, 253 lbs
Scouts Grade 55
Position Rank 13
Overall Rank 186
Arm Length 31-3/4"
Hand Size 9-1/4"
40-YD Dash 4.81
Overall Football Traits
Tight End Specific Traits
Separation Skills 4
Ball Skills 3
Big Play Ability 4
1 = Exceptional2 = Above average3 = Average4 = Below average5 = Marginal
Smythe injured his shoulder and tore an MCL three games into the 2015 season both required surgery. He caught 24 passes for 356 yards and five TDs while starting all 25 games over the past two seasons. Though his short shuttle time (4.23) is outstanding for a tight end, he's not fast enough to run by linebackers and not a threat after the catch. He grades out as a potential No. 3 blocking tight end who needs to contribute on special teams to stick. Heprojects as a late-round pick.
Smythe signed on with South Bend despite growing up in Texas, and being the son of a former Baylor offensive lineman who played on the school's 1980 Southwest Conference championship squad. He did not play as a true freshman and had a small role on offense the following season (one catch for seven yards in 13 games). Smythe started three games in 2015 (three catches, 18 yards, one touchdown), but did not participate in any others because of shoulder and knee injuries. Finally healthy in 2016, he started all 12 games, catching nine passes for 112 yards and scoring four times.
Smythe is a classic "Y" tight end who carries himself like an offensive lineman. He has the frame, toughness and ability to help do the dirty work as a run blocker for teams in need of toughness at the position. While Smythe can catch what is thrown to him, he's unlikely to be a targeted pass catcher on the next level. Smythe's particular talent as a run blocker should create an opportunity to become a solid starter for years to come.
* Has good size and should continue to grow into his frame
* Has a finisher's demeanor as a blocker
* Plays like an offensive lineman
* Technically sound blocker
* Hand placement is accurate and he unlocks his hips into opponent
* Runs his feet on down blocks until the block is secured
* Understands his landmarks and takes proper angles
* Excellent timing and radar when working up to linebacker on combos
* Plus blocker for the position in-line and on the move
* Trustworthy in pass protection
* Was able to work the seam and lay out to make the catch
* Unfazed by hitters in the middle of the field
* Straight-line mover who struggles to adjust his release when defenders are looking to lean on him
* Initial speed into patterns is average
* Routes are very readable for safeties and linebackers
* Comes out of his turns without much burst
* Separation could be a challenge against man coverage
* Needs to gather his feet into contact more consistently as a blocker
SOURCES TELL US
"There are only a handful of the old school tight ends who are big and able to help you in the run game and he's one of them." - AFC area scout
6. DURHAM SMYTHE | Notre Dame 6053 | 253 lbs. | rSR. Belton, Texas (Belton) 8/9/1995 (age 22.7) #80
A three-star tight end recruit out of high school, Durham Smythe started his career at Belton as a defensive end before focusing strictly on offense as a tight end. As a senior, he posted 37 receptions for 547 yards and six touchdowns, earning First Team all-district honors his final two seasons in high school. Although he grew up a Baylor fan, Smythe committed to Texas, but with the uncertainty around head coach Mack Brown, he de-committed and considered schools like Stanford, Georgia and others before signing with Notre Dame. After redshirting in 2013, he played primarily on special teams as a redshirt freshman in 2014. Smythe earned a starting role as a sophomore, but his season was cut short due to injuries, posting three catches and his first career touchdown. He returned as a junior in 2016 and started all 12 games, recording nine catches for 112 yards and four scores. Smythe started all 13 games as a senior and finished with career-bests in catches (15) and receiving yards (244), adding one touchdown. He accepted his invitation to the 2018 Senior Bowl.
Prototypical size measurements for the NFL…large target with a catch radius to match…operates well in a crowd with the concentration to finish catches…physically tough to secure and withstand punishment over the middle of the field…consistent route speed to attack the seam…works the sideline well with the coordination to toe-tap…balanced point-of-attack blocker…experienced inline and productive vs. defensive ends, sealing outside lanes (see vs. Bradley Chubb)…grip strength and hand placement to latch-and-control defenders…focuses on the fundamentals, utilizing blocking angles…graduated with a degree in sociology (May 2017)…football bloodlines – father (Roy) was an offensive lineman at Baylor…started every game at Notre Dame the last two seasons.
Pedestrian, one-speed athlete…little deception as a route-runner…doesn’t set up defenders or snap in/out of his breaks, rolling out the red carpet to the catch point…lacks breakaway acceleration to be a YAC threat…wasn’t a big-play threat in college with only four career plays of 25+ yards…marginal production with only 28 career receptions, averaging only one catch per collegiate start…overaggressive habits, falling off blocks in space…medical concerns – missed most of his sophomore season due to a bruised shoulder and torn MCL in his right knee (Sept. 2015), requiring surgery for both injuries (had both surgeries on the same day).
A three-year starter at Notre Dame, Smythe was used primarily as an inline tight end in the Irish’s pro-style scheme. Part of a crowded tight end depth chart in South Bend, he was underutilized most of his career with unimpressive production, but he was hand-cuffed by inconsistent quarterback play as a senior. Although he lacks the suddenness at the top of routes to routinely create separation, Smythe is a reliable pass-catcher with the toughness to win and secure crowded catch points. Blocking is more of a craft than part-time hobby for him, routinely winning one-on-one battles with his detailed, assignment sound mechanics. Overall, Smythe won’t wow evaluators, but he doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, fitting the mold of a traditional “Y” tight end with NFL starting abilities.
GRADE: 3rd-4th Round
• Two-year starter who possesses very good size and goodto- very good strength and explosion. One of the better blocking tight ends in this draft. Can block both in-line and on the move. Very reliable pass blocker and can generate movement as a run blocker. Good hands and a reliable short receiver. Above-average route runner.
WEAK POINTS • Shoulder and knee injuries in 2015 required surgery and will need to be checked out. Production never matched talent level. Smythe has merely average speed for the position.
WAY WE SEE IT
• A fifth-year senior and a two-year starter for Notre Dame, Smythe would have been a three-year starter but missed most of 2015 with knee and shoulder injuries. He has good size and nice athleticism, including above-average speed. Not used much in the Notre Dame passing game, but he is reliable when called upon. Knows how to get open and has good hands. He’s best when used as a blocker and is productive in both the run and passing game. Gets good position, can use his hands and anchor. Shows some snap in his hips on contact. Overall, Smythe isan underrated player who will do the dirty work and do it well. Will have a place in the league because he can block and teams are always looking for those guys. May be a better receiver than we saw in college. Late-round pick who could develop into a starting “Y” and quality special teams player.
Primarily a blocking tight end who can more than hold his own in-line, Smythe is surely going to be an asset in the run game. The question is what he’ll do as a receiver. He battled injuries throughout his career—2017 was his only full season as a starter—and left South Bend with only 28 career catches. His hands are good enough, and he has the body control to adjust to the misthrow, but he might not have the speed or route-running ability to be more than a guy who finds soft spots against zone coverage.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
6-5, 253, 4.87, #80
Belton High School
1/29/18 - Smythe took full advantage of playing in the 2018 Reese's Senior Bowl, by hauling in a 27-yard strike from Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. The four-star recruit had a modest collegiate career in terms of production, but showed in Mobile, Alabama he has the necessary tools to garner attention in the NFL Draft. Notre Dame's passing attack ranked 102nd overall in the country just under 180 yard passing per game (178.9), which helps explain the Smythe's lackluster senior statistics of 15 catches for 244 yards and one touchdown.
Despite being relatively productive in high school, Notre Dame was never able to apply his athleticism to their offensive production. The lone Senior Bowl invite for the Fighting Irish, Smythe is primed to be a more productive NFL player than collegiate student/athlete.
Since Brian Kelly has taken over as Head Coach at Notre Dame in 2010, there have been four tight ends selected in the NFL Draft that includes Kyle Rudolph (2011), Tyler Eifert (2013), Troy Niklas (2014) and Ben Koyack (2015). Smythe should be vying for a spot late on day two of the NFL Draft or early on day three.
The beneficial point of view for Smythe is he learned a lot of interior blocking at Notre Dame, which should increase his overall stock moving forward. This is where an opportunity to run routes and perform up close in front of NFL personnel at the Senior Bowl, helps peel backs the layers of Smythe's potential.
His senior season total of 15 receptions, are two more than in his three previous seasons at Notre Dame. The 15 catches in his final season went on average for 18.8 yards per reception. While far from staggering statistics he did maximize his opportunities. His junior year he caught nine passes but four of them were for touchdowns.
He caught 37 passes for 547 yards and six TDs as senior in 2012 at Belton High School in Belton, Texas Helped Tigers to 6-4 record as senior on team that averaged 31.6 points per game. One of two tight ends on Waco Tribune-Herald Top 50 and was rated number two on Waco Tribune-Herald list of Central Texas prospects for 2012. He was also a two-time first-team tight end on Texas District 8-5A squad in 2012 and 2011. Smythe was rated as the sixth tight end nationally by 247Sports and 15th tight end by Rivals. Texas High School Coaches Association named him to its all-state academic first team for 2012. He caught 22 passes as junior in 2011 for 341 yards and three touchdowns along with three two-point conversion throws. He added eight receptions for 120 yards and two TDs as a sophomore in 2010. Smythe played defensive end as a high school freshman before moving to tight end. Father Roy was offensive lineman on 1980 Baylor Southwest Conference champion football squad. Played for coach Rodney Southern. Son of Roy and Terri Smythe. He graduated in May 2017 with a degree in sociology from the College of Arts and Letters.
Passes the eyeball test, and looks the part of an NFL tight end. He revealed body control and sure hands during Senior Bowl practices and game. Smythe has very long arms and catches away from his body. He appears to have a good grasp on blocking angles and positioning. He can block in-line or on the move effectively. Witty enough in limited targets to exploit windows in coverage and knows how to get open, which is evident in his whopping 18.8 yard per reception in 2017. In six of his 13 games played his senior season, Smythe has receptions of 20-plus yards. The ability to stretch a defense resides in his ability. - Bo Marchionte 1/29/2018
Smythe was limited for most of his sophomore season and missed 10 games over the course of his Notre Dame career. His lack of production should bare some concern and allow NFL Scouting departments to delve into the specifics on why the Fighting Irish elected to not use his skill set in the passing game. He is adequate but not great in-line blocker, better on the move and blocking in space, rather than close to the line of scrimmage. He lacks that ability to destroy opponents and blow them off the ball. He'll need to refine his route running. - Bo Marchionte 1/29/2018
Tyler Kroft, Bengals - Kroft was a better overall prospect leaving Rutgers in 2015, but there are similarities between the two tight ends. Kroft was able to display his catching prowess in college and develop his blocking game over time. Smythe has skill set to become a consistent and reliable target next level, while his blocking ability gets him by early in his NFL career.
IN OUR VIEW
Every player approaches this next phase of their draft journey with different pros and cons to their ability. Smythe is one of the players who should benefit from being stripped of any team confinements and reveal his individual talents. The Senior Bowl was the first obstacle he passed with passing grades. Individual drills, shall the opportunity arise at the Scouting Combine, could really propel Smythe, who is coming off a great week at the Senior Bowl.