Poor Ryan Smith

February 1st, 2018

Rough breakdown.

Joe really does feel for Bucs cornerback Ryan Smith.

When he was drafted out of North Carolina Central in 2016, he was thought to be a promising cornerback, perhaps a steal of a find in the fourth round. Joe even remembers respected former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com raving about the selection by AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht. Jeremiah called Smith was a “small school corner with big league talent.”

Apparently, Bucs defensive coaches didn’t see Smith in the same light and tried to transform him into a safety. It blew up in their face. Towards the end of his rookie season, coaches threw in the towel on the project and put Smith back at corner.

Call it a year of development wasted.

Then last year Smith was forced into the starting lineup when Brent Grimes was injured in September, and again after the disappearance of Vernon Hargreaves. Joe will never forget Smith being tasked to stop Julio Jones on Thanksgiving Weekend in Atlanta. What a train wreck. At least it helped you forget Vikings receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen torching Smith and friends for 13 catches and 271 yards.

Hard-working analyst Doug Farrar ranked all NFL corners for Bleacher Report at put Smith at No. 75. Only one cornerback was considered worse.

There may not have been a more overwhelmed corner to earn more than 500 snaps than Smith. The 2016 fourth-round pick appeared to be guessing at routes with little consideration for how much help he had. His struggles with staying in position to challenge at the catch point were a major issue, and offenses routinely targeted his side of the field. He was unfit to be the third boundary corner in 2017.

With Smith struggling, with Hargreaves falling off the map, with Brent Grimes’ future cloudy at best, folks still question Joe’s sanity for wanting the Bucs to trade for Aqib Talib, who is reportedly being shopped.

Can you imagine?

40 Responses to “Poor Ryan Smith”

  1. godzilla13 Says:

    I can see it now. Vernon Hargreaves, Ryan Smith and Jude Adjei-Barimah.

  2. Kalind Says:

    Yea like I said Joe, I’m all for Talib. Just not at 11mil. Trade with an agreement to restructure perhaps…ala Alex Smith?

  3. teacherman777 Says:

    Ryan Smith was like 130 when he graduated high school. He worked his tail off to get drafted.

    He will work his tail off to improve.

    I believe in Ryan Smith. He is very quick and a tough tackler.

    VHIII hates tackling, so does Grimes but least Grimes is a top 5 cover corner.

    VHIII thought he was as good as Jalen Ramsey going into the draft. I guess Jameis was right about offering to “take a pay cut” to play with someone like Jalen. Too bad the Jags drafted Jalen before we had a chance.

    I posit that the Bucs would be a playoff team if we had had the chance to draft Jalen Ramsey, and if we had drafted Yannick in the 2nd instead of Aguayo.

    The Jags got the best CB and the best DE from that draft class.

    We got VHIII and Aguayo. Ouch!

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “Apparently, Bucs defensive coaches didn’t see Smith in the same light and tried to transform him into a safety. It blew up in their face.” So let’s see, it’s ALL on the Bucs’ defensive coaches. THEY screwed up, NOT that THEY were doing what they were told. If I remember correctly, GM Licht drafted Ryan Smith to be a SAFETY in the Bucs organization. Believe that he even mentioned that when he drafted Ryan Smith. So who’s boo-boowas it Joe? The Bucs’ defensive coaches or the GM’s and his college scouts?

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    2017 was basically Ryan Smith’s rookie year.

    I thought he did OK – all things considered. (trial by fire, no pass rush, playing opposite Grimes, secondary communication issues, etc.). There was noticeable improvement in Smith’s play over the course of the year. Not sure how much more could be expected from a 4th rd, Div 1 school CB getting his first NFL starts.

    In 10 starts – Smith made 62 tackles (51 solo) had 3 Forced Fumbles and a Fumble recovery. Also has more height and speed than Hargreaves.

    Give the kid a break. I think he will turn out OK and at worst develop into a quality back-up.

  6. Rrsrq Says:

    Preach Teacherman,

    I too believe R. Smith will work hard to improve, he seemed to close on receivers better toward the end of the season, I will say breakout player with at least 6 picks (the optimist in me)

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    And teacherman777, I believe in Ryan Smith too. Circumstances screwed him, but he’ll rise to the occasion in time I’m convinced. He was thrown into the fire prematurely, but the Bucs’ coaches really had little choice based on how poorly VHIII was playing. Learning ‘on the job’ works in some professions … outside corner in the NFL playing opposite an All-Pro like Brent Grimes probably would be one of my last choices. Plus our safeties didn’t exactly bail him out on many plays last year. I’m just hoping we can (1) re-sign Brent Grimes for another year or two; and (2) pick up another experienced outside CB who can start while Ryan & others can develop.

  8. Easy Says:

    Last season was a learning experience for this guy and I’ll give him another year to see how he develops. Hell he was better than VHIII who’s hamstring was tired of getting burned every other play

  9. BucEmUp Says:

    Last place league worst equals bad coaching. Julio and Matt Ryan both said after the game that the defense never made any adjustments so they kept doing the same thing. Shut up with the talent excuse already!!!!!! Every team in the league has holes, every team in the league can use upgrades, every team has injuries. You need mental counciling if you think getting a couple big name defensive players and drafting defense will change a damn thing.


  10. Sweeptheleg Says:


    Yea it’s on the stupid idiot coaches and organization of this pathetic franchise.

    If you want a safety then draft a dammm safety. Not a CORNERBACK. And say hey I know you’ve always played corner but we want you to start a new position at safety.

    Poor kid never had a chance. It’s not like he was gonna say no to playing safety.

    So yea it’s on the stupid coaches. And how can anyone defend any of these sorry as s worthless retread coaches? They’ve proven nothing except that they know how to lose.

  11. Bird Says:

    Pretty sure the Joe’s said many times how deep the corner back position was on this here site ?


    Missed it by that much

  12. Bucnjim Says:

    To early to call him a bust but the three things he really needs to work on are foot work balance and anticipation. He spent a lot of time on the ground which I called out several times last season. First thought was the cleats but watching closely he was slipping from being out of position

  13. Radman Says:

    The mistakes keep pointing to the braintrust.

  14. Maze Says:

    Or sign a much younger corner with still some upside in Trumaine Johnson. Good character guy too.

  15. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Vernon Hargreaves and Ryan Smith will work out. People give up too quickly around here.

  16. denjoe Says:

    How does Jason, still have a job driving the Tittanic?

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I also like his effort and think he will improve.

  18. HFXBUC Says:

    He performed much better later in the year. Corners take 3-4 years to develop he’s a good 3rd or 4th corner which is how he’s ranked on this list. How’s Rashaan Melvin making out now? Maybe the Bucs should bring him back too?

  19. Hodad Says:

    No corner can cover in the NFL without at least a decent pass rush. Are we forgetting we had the worst pass rush in the NFL? Throw in the fact as you say Joe the coaches tried making him a safety when he first got here. Our pass rush sucks, as does our secondary coach, as does our defensive scheme. Lets blame the cat because the dog pooped on the floor.

  20. Not there yet Says:

    Vh3 had a much worse season than Ryan. They first game they both started vh3 was the one getting picked on. They were talking about the way the scheme works the corners never know whether they have safety help on a certain play or not which is another reason they played so far off I just think the coaching scheme is assbackwards and it would be yet another corner to go on and do good things if he was let go. No one in this defense is going to flourish until the scheme changes. I expect our second year safety to take a step back simply because that is what happens to everyone in year 2 of this system

  21. meh Says:

    Ryan Smith stunk at safety. He stunk on kick returns. He stinks as a corner too. VH3 did not have a worse season than Ryan Smith, but he still had a terrible season. VH3 is the bigger disappointment right now because of the high expectations of a first rounder. I hoped Smith would be a good corner, but I didn’t expect it out of a mid round pick.

  22. Pa Privateer Says:

    2017 was Ryan Smith’s “Rookie” year at corner in the NFL. That is a very hard.

    Ryan Smith was asked to play opposite of Grimes causing QBs to target Smith more.

    Smith was asked to cover the top WRs when he wasn’t ready.

    Smith was asked to play CB in the NFL with no Pass Rush.

    Smith was playing off WRs 10 yards when he is actually suited to play more man-press and use his size and speed.

    GET A DANG PASS RUSH!!!!!!!!!!!

    Re-sign Grimes, Re-sign McClain, acquire Talib or other FA CB, draft another CB, keep Hargraves, Elliot, Jude etc……

  23. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    I still like the kids, maybe it’s me but I don’t think it’s his fault he was matched up with Julio Jones one on one, the team never told help his way, at least he played closer to the line of scrimmage than VHIII. He seems to have the proper attitude to play corner, and he isn’t the first couple to struggle in the first season starting. Will he ever be a #1 lock down corner, maybe not, but a serviceable #2, hopefully. Yes his numbers sucked this year, but so did the entire defense. Remember it’s a team game.

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    @SweepTheLeg … “If you want a safety then draft a dammm safety. Not a CORNERBACK.” I agree 100%, but you apparently missed my point. Defensive coaches don’t DRAFT anyone. Not their job. They work with who they’re given, and they were given a CORNERBACK who they were told to make into a SAFETY. For some reason, many JBFers don’t seem to get the role that MANAGEMENT plays in selecting talent on this team.

    Do you honestly believe that if Smitty & his defensive coaches had any real input into the draft that we wouldn’t have drafted any DEs these last 2 years except Noah Spence? Given what we started with in 2016 & how bare the cupboard was? Smitty knows full well that his defensive schemes depend on a pass rush, and we ain’t got one. An outstanding Secondary might be able to compensate for no pass rush to some degree, but it really doesn’t matter because our Secondary isn’t any better than our DLine.

  25. Pickgrin Says:

    Smith played 2 years of Safety and 2 years of CB in College – Its not like the decision to try him at Safety was completely out of left field like some of the above comments imply.

  26. 813bucboi Says:

    BucEmUp Says:
    February 1st, 2018 at 6:44 am
    Last place league worst equals bad coaching. Julio and Matt Ryan both said after the game that the defense never made any adjustments so they kept doing the same thing. Shut up with the talent excuse already!!!!!! Every team in the league has holes, every team in the league can use upgrades, every team has injuries.


    could’ve have said it better!!!!!

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!!…..GO BUCS!!!!

  27. 813bucboi Says:

    VHG and ryan smith aren’t half as bad as the scheme their playing in!!!!!…..both are man press CB’s…..let them play up close at the LOS and watch things improve…..play to their strengths…..but I guess playing to players strengths makes to much sense….

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!

  28. Sweeptheleg Says:


    I got your point. My point is these coaches don’t put players in a position to succeed.

    I mean dirk goes turtle every time the Bucs get anywhere close to the red zone=he’s in over his head and doesn’t have “it” as a coach. Look what he’s done to Jameis=regressing as of last season.

    And mike smith doesn’t adjust and allows players to play 15 yards off receivers= bad coaching and bad schemes.

    And Jason Licht plus those two should not have a job.

  29. 813bucboi Says:


    I AGREE!!!!!


    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!!

  30. Tom Says:

    Licht!! Do not trade away any of our draft choices. As a matter of fact I would dangle Desean Jackson as trade bait.

  31. Destinjohnny Says:

    6-10 talent

  32. Capt.Tim Says:

    Ryan Smith has NEVER PLAYED safety in a game. They tried to convert him to safety his first year-then decidd he was too good at CB. He never touched the field year one
    Try watching a game

    Ryan Smith was a rookie, opposite All pro Bret Grimes, playing on a team with the worst pass rush in the league.

    Yeah- You’d have to strech pretty far, to blame the rookie.

    Sweeptheleg- you’re right. Thats the real problem. Piss poor coaching.
    And Piss poor DEs

  33. BringBucsBack Says:

    Ryan has talent. I expect he’ll be better. I for one will be pulling for him.

    1-4. Pass rush.
    5. Bump & run @ LOS.
    6 (should really be #1). Coaching

  34. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    “with little consideration for how much help he had.”

    Sounds like Farrar is the one with little consideration for “the help he had”…which was ZERO.

    Who puts a virtual rookie out on the field to cover the best WR in the league with ZERO pass rush.

    That Atlanta game is one contest that left me soured a bit on Smitty. Why he didn’t have Grimes on JJ with Evans backing him up at safety is beyond me.
    Considering Matty Ice has all day against our non existent pass rush I’m not suggesting we we would have covered JJ totally but it was our only chance.

  35. firethecannons Says:

    Good article-no doubt this team will fail with vh3, ryan smith and question mark, the Bucs deserve to be last in NFC as they have made no changes to coaching staff. The coaches are not able to help these draft piks otherwise we would of seen it–they are worse than they were in college.

    how can anyone expect they will be better after witnessing a steady downward progression. Watching the Bucs was awfull last year, will not be buying the Directv nnfl next year so will not watch Bucs–good, less heartache–they suck! thanks to coaches and J Licht–does not matter who they pick–they will ruin their talent especially the cornerback position.

    Just wish the cardinals had a website like this one.

  36. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Provided they make the team this year (anything is possible when the defense is being rebuilt), VHIII and Smith will do much better this year…and those haters among you will like them this time next year. Well, most of the haters. There will still be the troll haters.

    Really, if we sign or draft one CB this year, plus resign Grimes, I think we will be fine for CBs for 2018.

    Fix the line, and the rest will play better. Watch and see.

    And in the case of Smith, it is not coaching that was the problem. It was the fact that he was tried at a new position, did not fit well, moved back and needed a little time to acclimate. Like most CBs.

    So far as VHIII, he had one bad year. Far too soon to give up on him. Many gave up on Mike Evans after his second year too. Big mistake. He got better.

  37. LakeLand Says:

    Ryan Smith would be a solid CB on most NFL teams. But when the QB has all day to throw the ball, he will look like trash, as will 90% of the CBs in the NFL.

  38. Not there yet Says:

    No vh3 is a bigger disappointment because dude was supposed to be the starting corner and got kicked inside because he was mentally terrified. Regardless I would like to see the bucs stuck with hard cases and develop some of these guys for once, if we have another bad season but these guys play much better that’s a great sign and it’ll have to be because we probably won’t see a high draft pick at corner

  39. webster Says:

    Buc fans surely must not watch football outside of tampa or they are just dumb for no reason. Gms have drafted players and switch their positions in the pros since the beginning of time. Heck, players are recruited to college change positions once on campus. These guys are athletes. You guys make it seem like moving smith to safety is the equvalence of trying to use a ford pickup truck motor as a roof on a 1500 sq foot house. How can you trash licht or the coaches when smith did play some safety in college? Marpet played tackle at hobart. Everybody wanted to draft derrick brooks as a safety because that where all the scouts saw him playing. He refused to even visit a team who wanted to switch him and all he did was re-invent the olb. Point is stop trying to find things to be outraged about. Remember tim wright? Yes tim wright the wide receiver turned tight end. Remember antwaan randle el? Yea antwaan randle el the qb turned wide receiver.

  40. mike10 Says:

    Doubt they’re going to trade Talib. At his age/cost, he will get released. Minkah Fitzpatrick is sitting there in the draft too.