Ranking the top local Bay Area prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /
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Stanford football
PALO ALTO, CA – OCTOBER 27: Kaden Smith #82 of the Stanford Cardinal catches a pass and gets tackled by Peyton Pelluer #47 of the Washington State Cougars during the first half of their NCAA football game at Stanford Stadium on October 27, 2018 in Palo Alto, California. 2019 NFL Draft Stanford football (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

We reach our first of four Stanford football prospects on this list with tight end Kaden Smith. The upcoming tight end draft class is sneakily very deep — more on that later — and Smith is one of many players at the position expected to be drafted come next week.

A key piece of the Cardinal offense over the past two seasons, Smith is a physical specimen who has been a quality offensive producer throughout his college career. His 47 receptions, 635 yards, and two touchdowns all ranked third on the team in 2018 helping earn him second-team All-Pac-12 honors in the process.

Smith’s biggest strength — apart from his imposing figure — likely comes with his excellent ball skills. The 21-year-old has a fantastic catch radius and has no issues extending his arms to high-point the football, much like the aforementioned Doss.

However, Smith has his share of limitations which will likely hold him back at the next level. While he has a large frame, he isn’t particularly strong and will often get bodied both in his routes and while blocking. Smith doesn’t have stand-out athleticism and struggles to separate making his contested catch ability more of a necessity than an asset.

These limitations will likely limit his starting potential in the NFL, but it’s easy to see Smith developing into a very reliable backup tight end who flashes red zone ability from time to time.

Certainly a player worthy of a Day 3 draft selection based on his given traits, but his highlight reel might be more flash than true substance.