Durham Smythe joins line of Notre Dame tight ends drafted into NFL

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Thanks largely to a strong combine performance and draft prep raising his draft stock, former Notre Dame tight end Durham Smythe was drafted No. 123 overall Saturday by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round.

Smythe’s Irish career never quite popped, peaking with 15 catches for 244 yards and one touchdown last season after pulling in nine passes for 112 yards and four touchdowns in 2016. Despite those aerial ups-and-downs, Smythe was always a dependable run blocker. He returned for a fifth year with Notre Dame partly due to the arrival of offensive coordinator Chip Long from Memphis, knowing Long had a past of utilizing tight ends productively in his offensive scheme.

That decision made Smythe the fifth tight end drafted during Irish head coach Brian Kelly’s tenure, joining Kyle Rudolph, Tyler Eifert, Troy Niklas and Ben Koyack.

The Dolphins also selected a tight end with their second-round pick, taking Mike Gesicki from Penn State. Standing at 6-foot-6, Gesicki’s frame is similar to Smythe’s, 6-foot-5 ½, himself. However, Gesicki established himself as a receiving threat the last two years with the Nittany Lions, totaling 105 catches for 1,242 yards and 14 touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons.

By no means does that indicate Smythe should face trouble making Miami’s roster. The Dolphins’ depth chart has not established tight ends currently, meaning both Smythe and Gesicki could make an impact in 2018.

Smythe’s career at Notre Dame:
2014: 13 games, one reception for seven yards.
2015: 3 games, three receptions for 18 yards and one touchdown before shoulder and knee injuries ended his season.
2016: 12 games, nine catches for 112 yards and four touchdowns.
2017: 13 games, 15 catches for 244 yards and one touchdown.

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