A Closer Look: Notre Dame S Harrison Smith

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 12, 2012 – 6:47 am

We are two weeks away from the start of the 2012 NFL Draft, with the 1st round scheduled to begin on the evening of Thursday, April 26. Over the past few days, though, my inbox has been filled with questions about a player who likely won’t be selected until the 2nd round, which will occur on the evening of Friday, April 27.

That player is Notre Dame S Harrison Smith. Obviously the secondary is an area of need for the Vikings, so the fan base’s interest in Smith is not surprising. But the buzz has been building around Smith, and from all the information I’ve gathered it’s clear that he’s a player rising up draft boards as we get closer and closer to showtime.

For those of you not familiar with Smith, he’s a 6-2, 214-pound safety who also played some linebacker at Notre Dame. He was a 5th-year senior and team captain in 2011 and he’s also the only player in Irish football history to register more than 200 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss and 15 pass breakups in a career.

During this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, we had Vikings preseason TV analyst and NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock on the Wobcast. Smith came up in our discussion with Mayock, and Mayock has an interesting perspective on Smith because he’s been the TV analyst for Notre Dame on NBC the past two seasons. On top of that, Mayock played safety in the NFL, so you know he has a discerning eye for the position.

Here’s what Mayock had to say about how Smith projects to the NFL…

“Harrison Smith from Notre Dame is a better safety than people think,” Mayock said. “What Harrison Smith does, is he’s a better athlete than people think, he’s a 215-pound safety, he can play strong and free, he’s more athletic than people give him credit for, he will line everybody up because he’s one of the smarter kids out there, and he’s an excellent tackler. I think he’s going in the second round. So if you’re talking about a second-round safety, there’s a big drop off at the safety position after Harrison Smith.”

It’s a great evaluation of Smith, and it makes you wonder if Smith wouldn’t be a great option for the Vikings in the 2nd round with the 35th overall selection. From the sounds of it, Smith would be an impact player for the Vikings immediately because he’d probably have one of the starting safety spots and I’m also told he’d be a standout player on special teams because of his instincts and outstanding tackling ability.

What do you think, fans? Would you be happy with Smith as the Vikings choice in the 2nd round to fill a team need in the secondary? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below this entry.

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