Patriots No. 7 pick scouting report: TE Lee Smith, Marshall

Posted April 30, 2011 @ 3:03 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

The Patriots drafted another player who will develop and likely not see the field much in 2011, Marshall TE Lee Smith. Smith, who is more of a blocker than receiver, was likely selected to learn under veteran Alge Crumpler. Crumpler, 33, was the team's run-blocking tight end while Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were weapons in the passing game. Smith could be groomed as Crumpler's eventual replacement. Here is PFW draft expert Nolan Nawrocki's scouting report on Smith from the 2011 Draft Preview book:

Notes: Married with two kids. Father, the late Daryle Smith, played offensive tackle for the Cowboys, Browns and Eagles (1987-92). Lee was a high school tight end-defensive end before committing to Tennessee. Was arrested and charged with DUI in early August '06 and subsequently dismissed from UT. Transferred to Marshall and sat out the season per NCAA rules. In '07, played in 11 games and caught two passes for nine yards (4.5-yard average) and zero touchdowns. Started 7-of-12 games in '08, catching 12-89-0 (7.4). In '09, started 9-of-13 games and snagged 23-335-0 (14.6). Caught 38-358-3 (9.4) while playing in 12 games (11 starts) in '10. Has served as the backup long-snapper. Two-time team captain.

Positives: Excellent size and arm length. Strong blocker. Plays physical and seeks to finish blocks. Competitive second-level blocker. Plays with a mean streak. Reliable catcher on short crossers and outlet passes. Outstanding intangibles - highly respected, vocal team leader who ran wild early in his career, has matured greatly and now holds teammates accountable.

Negatives: Has a tendency to lock his knees and face up defenders too straight-legged. Lumbering route runner - confined to a short area. Limited foot speed - struggles to uncover. Not strong or elusive after the catch and cannot avoid.

Summary: A physical, line-of-scrimmage blocker who could readily help a power running game as a No. 2, blocking tight end and bring leadership to a locker room.

NFL projection: Fifth- to sixth-round pick.