2012 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame

by Cory J. Bonini on March 19, 2012 @ 17:28:43 PDT


Notre Dame strong safety Harrison Smith has the necessary tools to succeed at the next level, and he should draw interest fairly early in the 2012 NFL Draft.

The senior finished his Fighting Irish career with 307 total tackles (18.5 for loss) and 28 passes defensed.

Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame
Athletic hard hitter


  • Excellent size (6-foot-1 7/8, 213 pounds)
  • Long arms (32 5/8 inches) and big hands (10 1/4 inches)
  • Impressive athleticism (4.57-second 40 time, 34-inch vertical, 10-foot-2 broad jump, 6.63-second three-cone drill, which led all safeties at the Scouting Combine)
  • Ball-hawking ability - seven interceptions as a junior
  • Lateral ability to run sideline to sideline
  • Highly competitive, well-respected team leader
  • Hard hitter and tackle machine
  • Shows great pre-snap awareness
  • Versatile - played linebacker for much of 2009
  • Blitzing experience - better in the box and against the run


  • Needs to improve his tackling technique, primarily in the way of wrapping up - looks for too many knockout hits
  • Susceptible to play-action fakes and over-commits at times
  • Can play too upright and has lazy footwork on occasion
  • Failed to record an interception as a senior after a stellar junior campaign
  • Particularly struggles in man-to-man coverage

Expected draft placement

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.

The Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions may also show considerable interest in Smith during the second round.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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