The NFL Draft Day is exciting for fans learning which new players will be joining their teams, but for the players eligible to get drafted, it’s a day that will forever change their life. The first round draft kicks on April 25, and like his father before him, Irv. Smith Jr., is hoping to get picked by a team on day one.
Smith Jr. forwent his senior at University of Alabama to enter the 2019 draft. While most players dream of just being drafted, the 6’4, 241 pound tight-end who helped the Crimson Tide win the College National Championship game in 2017 is looking to build on the family legacy, and have the prestigious honor of being drafted in the first round, just like his Dad.
Smith Sr., also a tight end, played football at Notre Dame before entering the NFL Draft in 1993. He was taken in the first round, pick No. 20 of the New Orleans Saints in 1993. He went on to play seven seasons in the NFL, five with the Saints, one with the San Francisco 49ers, and his last with the Cleveland Browns in 1999.
While talking with the New Orleans Advocate Smith Sr. said, “I liked football. Irv Jr. loves football. It’s pretty simple. He absolutely loves it. They say if you find something you love to do and get paid doing it, you never work a day in your life. It was work for me. It’s not work for him. I told him he could be a slow wide receiver or a fast tight end,” he added. “Dad knows best.”
But Smith Sr. is not here to steal away the thunder from his son. “This is his moment,” he said. “It’s not about me. Mine was 26 years ago. This is his day. The stuff that he’s about to do will make the stuff I did look so small. I’m so blessed to have the opportunity that I had, but what Irv Jr. is about to do will be leaps and bounds more than what I did by far.”
While Smith Sr., didn’t let his son start playing football until the 8th grade, his excellence in the sport was undeniable. At the worst, Smith Jr. will be drafted early in Round 2. However, chances of him going in the first round is not out of the equation. He was a Class 5A honorable mention All-Louisiana pick from Brother Martin High School in New Orleans. He signed with the Crimson Tide as a four star recruit and a nationally ranked Top 10 tight end recruit. While the Tide was defeated by the Clemson Tigers, Smith Jr. was a key player in getting the team to the National Championship game in 2019.
“I’m open to any team,” Smith Jr. said. “Whoever wants to take a chance on me, I’m ready to work.”