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Chargers 90-in-90: TE Stone Smartt

Smartt was a seldom-used receiver as a college senior but somehow carved out a role as an undrafted rookie in 2022.

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Sacaramento, California native played his prep ball at Del Oro High School in nearby city of Loomis. As a quarterback prospect, Smartt chose to take the JUCO route and signed with Riverside City Community College where enjoyed short, but prolific, career.

During his two-year career at Riverside, Smartt passed for 2,754 yards and 31 touchdowns. He was also a threat on the ground as he added 583 yards and nine more touchdowns. In his final season, he was named a First-Team JUCO All-American, the SCFA Offensive Player of the Year, and California State Offensive Player of the Year. He left Riverside with numerous school records, including highst completion percentage, most passing yards in both a season and career, and mose touchdown passes in a single quarter.

Smartt went on to continue his football career at Old Dominion where he earned seven starts during his first year on campus. He threw for 1,006 yards, a single touchdown, and six interceptions. He also carried the football 104 times for 181 yards and five touchdowns.

After COVID stripped the Monarchs of their 2020 season, Smartt returned to the field in 2021 as a converted wideout where he made five starts. He finished fourth on the team with 17 receptions for 167 yards while also recording 10 rushing yards.

At the school’s pro day, Smartt impressed with a 4.62 40-yard dash, a 40-inch vertical, and 10’8” broad jump.

Smartt joined the Chargers an an undrafted free agent following the 2022 NFL draft.

Basic Info

Height: 6’4
Weight: 226
College: Old Dominion
Experience: 1
Years with team: 1

Contract Status

“Stone Smartt signed a 3 year, $2,565,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $5,000 signing bonus, $5,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $855,000. In 2023, Smartt will earn a base salary of $870,000, while carrying a cap hit of $871,666 and a dead cap value of $3,334.”-

The Good

Smartt is an athletic tight end with natural football ability that comes from his time as a college quarterback. His IQ for the game must be rather high as you don’t often see players go from undrafted to earning real game snaps in their first season. Smartt understands how to find open holes in zone coverage and it’s likely why he saw early snaps in Lombardi’s offense which utilized a plethora of stick and shallow concepts.

The Bad

“Modern” NFL tight ends aren’t your father’s tight ends. They’re leaner with almost the same athleticism of wide receivers at times with just a little more girth. Smartt fits into this new category of “F” tight ends but I’d go as far as to say he’s TOO lean as of now. According to the Chargers’ official roster, Smartt weighs just 226 pounds, down from his college listed weight of 232. That 232 pounds would be on the smaller side, but dipping under 230 is just odd for someone who is expected to help block edge rushers at times. He’ll have to continue grinding in the weight room to increase his long-term prospects in the NFL.

Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2023?

Smartt likely surprised many fans by finding legitimate snaps on offense as an undrafted rookie in 2022. Does this mean he’s a lock to make the active roster in his second year? Not exactly, but I’d argue the chances are better than you’d think due to the Chargers’ love for using multiple tight ends at a time. With injuries also prevalent at the position a season ago, I would expect Smartt to see time on the active roster at some point but wouldn’t be shocked were he to start on the practice squad in week one.