Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame
6-foot-11/2, 214 pounds
Draft projection: Third round
Lowdown: This isn’t a very deep crop of safeties but Smith is considered along with Alabama’s Mark Barron and Oklahoma State’s Markelle Martin as three of the better prospects. Of the safeties given a top 125 grade by NFLDraftScout.com prior to the Combine, Smith was the lone prospect to record a time under 4.66 (4.57). Smith, who played both safety spots at Notre Dame, is a converted LB and could develop into a hybrid linebacker/safety a la Bryan Scott. He’s a punishing downhill hitter with a high IQ and fundamentally sound. But with more teams seeking big, athletic safeties to combat tight ends like Rob Gronkowski and Vernon Davis, Smith struggles in man-to-man coverage.
Smith on his ability to cover tight ends: “That’s something that I think I’m good at, and that I can bring to teams, is the ability to cover tight ends man-to-man. It’s something I did throughout my career. In practice I got to go against Kyle Rudolph, who was a high draft pick last year. This past year I went against Tyler Eifert, and he’ll be picked next year. So just being around good competition and going up against it every day in practice.”