With the 159th pick in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected Lee Smith, the tight end out of Marshall.
While this certainly is not a sexy pick, in my opinion, it is a very solid selection. Smith, at 6'6" and 266 lbs, is not going to wow you with his receiving skills or speed (4.94). While he does have soft hands for the catch, his biggest asset is his blocking. Mike Mayock of NFL Network went so far as to call him the "best blocking tight end in this draft." That's pretty impressive.
While he isn't going to wow you down field or run great routes, his best asset will be as an in-line blocker. He will likely be the third down tight end of the future, and could push Alge Crumpler for a roster spot this season. Some scouts apparently even believe that Smith could eventually make the transition to offensive tackle.
I really like this pick, but the one thing that bothers me is that the Patriots continued to pass up front seven players. At outside linebacker, Jeremy Beal, Chris Carter, and Greg Romeus were all still on the board. A tough call, but if Smith makes the roster, he could be a great blocking tight end for years to come.
Pick Grade: B-