The Buccaneers first selection of Day 3, announced by proud season-ticket holder Dick Vitale, is cornerback Ryan Smith of North Carolina Central, at pick No. 108 overall.
The first NC Central player to earn an invite to the Combine, Smith finished his collegiate career with seven interceptions and 31 pass breakups in 45 games with 42 starts. He also had 168 solo tackles, a particularly impressive mark for a cornerback.
Known for his speed – ran a 4.47 at the Combine – Smith also returned kicks for the Eagles and averaged 28.1 yards per return. It’s conceivable that the Bucs believe they can develop him into a valuable special teams player, whether it’s as a return man or a gunner on the kickoff unit given his combination of speed and tackling ability.
At 5-foot-11, 189-pounds, Smith has a similar build to Vernon Hargreaves III, the Bucs first-round pick. And like Hargreaves, his high tackle numbers indicate a hard-nosed playing style that Tampa Bay likes in its secondary.
Smith, who was overlooked by bigger universities after just one year of high school football, was reached for comment moments after his fourth-round selection. Smith, who majored in criminal justice after being influenced by his mother’s career in the DEA, gave his most enthusiastic answer during the interview when he was asked about special teams and how he can contribute to the Bucs next season.
“When I’m out there the feeling is indescribable,” Smith said of returning kicks. “I did special teams all through college and I made plays. I will continue to do the same thing at the next level. You’re going to get my all and then some, I know for a fact. I’m going to be a major part for this team and I’m going to do everything I can to help them.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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I really like that we’re finally trying to upgrade the CB position. Between Grimes, Robinson, Hargreaves and Smith does anybody still believe the Bucs thought it was just the coaching that made Banks and Verner so terrible over the past two seasons (three for Banks). I don’t think Verner or Banks are in the teams future plans. Banks is in the final year of his contract and Verner hasn’t played up to his contract. If Banks is ever re-signed it will be because he had a breakout season this year and even then it’ll be like a 1 or 2 year “prove it” deal that have become so popular. Based on what I’ve seen up to this point I wouldn’t bet on it.
They haven’t done much with safety yet. With Banks length and relatively slow speed, he could be a safety.
I don’t like the angles he takes on tackles enough to move him to safety. He made one tackle last year in a crucial situation that stood out to me (maybe it was the Dallas game) but it was only a few yards away from the endzone where he didn’t have to make a decision on tackle angle. He is slow, but it’s not his speed that bothers me because he has length, it’s his instincts.
Mac, I’m thinking the same thing.
I didn’t know anything about this guy so I looked up some things and from his play style and all , it almost sounds like they will give this guy a go at safety maybe? He’ll definitely feature in the return game and is an immediate upgrade over Rainey. Then again you could take a knee every other kick and still be more productive than Rainey.
I agree with Pink above though and think this is Verners last chance, especially with his contract. I won’t be surprised if they keep Banks though. That is hinging on a good year. But fact is we need to have at least one taller DB. Can’t all be under 6′. As for not taking a Tackle, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Jon Gruden favorite Gholston wasn’t shifted indie.
On a side note, does anyone know hwy the hell Billings is falling so far? Has to be an injury.
Then we should draft a CB that’s over 6’0″ tall WITH INSTINCTS in next year’s draft and don’t re-sign Banks. Just because Bucs fans and media want taller CB’s doesn’t mean we have to settle for the non-instinctive Banks.
The draft panel on NFLN discussed that and they said no off field or injuries. Scouts think he is just a run stopper and offers no pass rush. Their opinion, not mine! BTW, he has been taken by the Bengals.
So we got another undersized CB. Someone let Jason Licht know that Steve Smith Sr. no longer plays for the Panthers?
You could have just stopped at “know anything” and your point would have been made…
I’m sure when you typed it out, it sounded funny. You should hit reply to the comment though so it just doesn’t look like a bunch of random gibberish.
Yes pink, I still think it was mostly coaching and scheme that made his the worst secondary in the NFL. it was also lack of pass rush. It was also lack of talent, but to lesser degree. This pick is for CB depth, kick returner, and future. He’s likely not going to start this year so doesn’t mean anything about what Bucs think about Banks or Verner. You also make this pick because Grimes is at the end of his career.
Great pick and a double edged sword. Adding to the competition at corner and improving our special teams. I’m guessing return duties will be a battle between Smith and Bell.
Hope to see us address Safety at some point but I’m sure Licht and company have a plan to add/move players to cover our needs
Interesting idea … moving Banks to Safety. I was just wondering to myself if we might use Banks or Verner for some kind of trade in the future.
More “tired brain” speculation.
Well Guys Tampa went this way because WR Chris Moore went to Balt at pick 107 one pick ahead of the Bucs. Some times you win some you loose. I think he will shore of the Db.Good pick.
Dudes got some major tat’s.
I believe Daryle Green, CB for the Washington Redskins was like 5’9.
One of the main reasons he wasn’t drafted until the final selection of the first round was because of his height.
He only lasted 20 years playing for the Washington Redskins and is a member of the Hall of Fame.
If Hargreaves heart is as big as Greens, we don’t have anything to worry about.
I like this pick because of the flexability to play CB/Safety/Nickel. Go Bucs!
Totally agree drdneast. This lack of height, or is it “length” now is being just a little overblown. It’s not like Hargreaves and now Smith are 5′-6″. There sure are a lot of DB’s under 6′-0″ succeeding as you pointed out. In my view, hip flexibility, body control, instincts, ball awareness, assignment soundness, leaping ability, and speed are far more critical than an inch or two. If it is “length” that is so important, Mike Glennon should be moved to DB.
SCU- I tend to agree but my only argument to that is WR’s are taller than 20 years ago. We are seeing 6’4 and even 6’6 WR’s with speed. Early in Randy Moss days he was uncoverable unless he was having one of his pouting tantrums. However, right scheme and good line pressure take most of that advantage away, IMO.
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