MOBILE, Ala. —Durham Smythe was all over the field Thursday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
As the North Team worked in its final preparations for today's 69th annual Senior Bowl game in Mobile, Ala., Smythe was making play after play after play from the tight end position.
West Virginia safety Kyzir White? No match on two different plays from Smythe. Texas A&M safety Armani Watts? Couldn't recover from a nice little move from Smythe to create separation and make a play. Hawaii safety Trayvon Henderson? Trying to jam at the line wasn't going to work against Smythe's 6-foot-5, 253-pound frame.
And maybe the scary thing about Smythe's game is he was only utilized about once a game as a pass catcher at Notre Dame, which oftentimes employed a run-heavy offensive approach during his time at the school.
But this week, against some of the best college talent around, Smythe is happy to get the opportunity to show was he can do with tons of NFL scouts in the stands — and not to mention the Denver Broncos coaching staff leading his North squad this week.
"I like to consider myself pretty versatile," Smythe told Colts.com after Thursday's practice. "Within the offense the last few years at Notre Dame I've been asked to fill kind of different roles. This past season we had the best offensive line in college football, so, plus, when you mix that with a running back and how athletic our quarterback was, we ran the ball a lot, so I was asked to do a lot of run blocking. The years prior to that I was asked to run a lot of routes because we were in kind of more of a spread. So I like to think of myself as more of a versatile guy who can do a little bit of everything, and I think that's kind of the role that I try to rely on."
Smythe in 2017 started all 12 games for the Irish, catching 15 passes for 244 yards and one touchdown. While those numbers don't necessarily jump off the page, Smythe was a key outside blocker for Notre Dame's potent rushing attack, which ranked seventh in the nation at 269.3 yards per game.
That all-around approach in a pro-styled offense has paid dividends this week, Smythe said, as the Broncos' coaches have implemented the playbook for Saturday's game.
"Within our offense, we run a pretty pro-style offense, so I'm already noticing within this offense a lot of the things translate," he said. "Definitely some changes here and there, but in terms of just overall structure and what we're asked to do, a lot of them are similar."
Smythe said he's had a "great experience" at the Senior Bowl, which is essentially a top prospect's first chance to really show what they can do on the field, and then talk to NFL scouts and GMs in various formal and informal interviews off of it.
And just like his results on the practice field this week, Smythe said it's been smooth sailing in those conversations with the team scouts and personnel folks, and not as daunting as some may make it seem.
"I'm not too nervous going into it," he said. "I try just to be myself in the interviews. It's not that difficult; you get asked the same questions kind of over and over. But it's not too bad of an experience and you get to meet a lot of new people. Some of these scouts I've talked to are really kind of just cool guys to kind of just talk ball with. So it's been a good experience and definitely not too intimidating."
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