Nick Rapone: Tykee Smith Will Play Strong Safety And Nickel Corner

May 1st, 2024

Cross-training planned.

It’s unclear where rookie defensive back Tykee Smith out of Georgia will play for the Bucs this season. What is known is where the Bucs project him to play.

Yesterday, Bucs safeties coach Nick Rapone said the plan is to cross-train Smith, who the Bucs selected Friday in the third round. His initial responsibilities, in theory, will be strong safety and a nickel corner.

Why the cross-training? Rapone said head coach Todd Bowles likes that because so often defensive backs are dinged up and the more flexible a defensive back is, the better he can be utilized in Bowles’ system.

And, of course, it aids in the players’ job stability.

“It could be nickel, safety. [Or] safety, nickel. We will see how the progress goes,” Rapone said during a defensive coaches’ media availability

Smith would be just about the perfect defensive back for Bowles, Rapone said, if he was only a couple of inches taller.

“Tykee Smith is probably what Coach Bowles always wants to get in a safety,” Rapone said. “Meaning — you’d like him taller if you can — but he’s 4.46 [in 40-yard dash] and we cross-train so much because during the season if someone breaks a fingernail [there will be injuries].

“He gives you a 205-pound frame. He’s productive. He’s physical. He can run. He’s used to winning. It’s important.”

Rapone also explained how Smith will be very important for the Bucs at safety, even if he doesn’t start. Rapone noted that in 2020 the Bucs’ backup safeties were Andrew Adams and Mike Edwards.

If not for Adams and Edwards’ play in the second half of the 2020 NFC title game, Rapone pointed out, as Antoine Winfield was inactive and Jordan Whitehead left early in the third quarter with an injured shoulder, the Bucs may not have won the game.

So Rapone said adding a player like Smith is critical if the Bucs want to make noise in the playoffs.

Ira Kaufman Reviews The Bucs’ Draft, Talks Realities, Needs And Nonsense, Building Around Baker Mayfield (?), Names An Unlikely Potential Best Pick, And More

25 Responses to “Nick Rapone: Tykee Smith Will Play Strong Safety And Nickel Corner”

  1. Leighroy Says:

    Good! Great! Grand! Wonderful! No yelling on the bus!

  2. Capt.Tim Says:

    He will be a great in the box, run support Safety.
    Imo- Hes short, slow, and lacks the fluidity to play in pass coverage.

    3rd round is just really high to draft a limited backup safety.

  3. Beeej Says:

    A little more depth the FOLLOWING year we’d have been back in the Super Bowl. Simply ran out of capable d backs

  4. Pickgrin Says:

    4.46 for a safety is certainly not “slow” Tim….

    And the Kid’s a baller. A football player.

    You will see in time that your criticism of the pick is completely off base.

  5. Jeffs grandpa Says:

    4.46 is slow for safety’s now that’s news to me

  6. Tucker Says:

    Carlton Davis ran a 4.5 and he was the starting corner think Smith will be fine definitely not slow.

  7. Boss Says:

    Todd is good at DBs.t he one thing I trust him on 100

  8. D-Mac Says:

    “I’ll turn this damned bus around… that’ll end your precious little field trip pretty damn quick!”

  9. Steven007 Says:

    Captain, how can you lack the fluidity to play pass coverage but yet somehow lead your SEC team in interceptions?

  10. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    Minkah Fitzpatrick also ran a 4.46 , not one human being on planet earth has ever said he’s too slow. Swing and a miss Tim.

  11. RunBakerRun Says:

    “He’s short, slow and lacks the fluidity to play in pass coverage…”

    Capt Tim, all I can say is the fact that you made that statement about a safety who runs a 4.46 and played both safety & corner against top receivers…. well it just shows me and the rest of the world just how far up your ass your head is.

  12. Jvato24 Says:

    I guess he got lucky leading the Bulldogs in pickoffs!??? Some of you sound just like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh

  13. SlyPirate Says:

    Winfield: 5’9, 209lbs, 4.45
    Smith: 5’10, 202lbs, 4.49

    Football IQ is such a big thing with DBs. Smith led the Georgia Bulldogs in INTs and Tackles!!!! Are you kidding? This guy can ball.

  14. Capt.Tim Says:

    If only College was the same as the pros.
    And Pickgrin, If Coach Bowles was great at Defensive backs, we would probably be better than 32nd in pass defense.

    Carlton Davis was very fluid. Didnt we just Trade Davis to Detroit?

    To all those Defending the Tykee pick- I really want you all to be right. I hope you are. Im a Buc fan, and hate when we waste a draft pick.
    But I watched the tape. Talked to friends that follow the Georgia program. They saw what I saw. I hope Im wrong, and he is a Probowl Slot Corner.
    But Im seeing a backup, run stopping Safety. That is very true to Coach Bowles philosophy. He focuses on stopping the run first.
    Nothing wrong with a run stopping Safety.
    Just a waste in the 3rd round, when there were DEs and Centers available- who might have started for this team.

    But Im glad to see you all supporting Coach Bowles pick. I had no idea how vehemently you supported his drafting skills.

  15. unbelievable Says:

    LOL I feel like we hear the same thing about every single DB that Bowles coaches. I’m all for flexibility and cross training, but also think it’s wise to let guys master a single position first some times…

    @Capt Tim – being ranked “32nd in pass defense” is only referring to yards allowed, not points allowed. Using yards to rank offenses and defense has always been pointless IMO, unless you play fantasy.

  16. CJBucsFan Says:

    @ Capt Tim. You can’t just say I’m wrong about him being slow?

  17. BigMacAttack Says:

    I like all of the players Jason drafted this year. Unlike some with foot in mouth syndrome, I’m going to reserve judgment on how they’ll transition to the NFL. Anything can happen. It’s all about conditioning, hard work, heat management and dedication. I’m saying it’s all above the shoulders and this where Licht and his scouts shine. I’m stoked because we’re better than we were a week ago. So suk on that 😂

  18. A Bucs Fan Says:

    @Capt Tim “Keegan Abdoo of the NFL’s Next Gen Stats team created a visualization that shows the average 40-yard dash time by position, with cornerbacks averaging 4.50 seconds, wide receivers averaging 4.51 seconds, and safeties averaging 4.55 seconds.”

    This kid Tykee tested faster than all three average times listed. You must mean game speed then? If that’s the case he still led Georgia in INTs and Tackles. That’s not to say he’s the next great anything in the NFL. The draft is a crap shoot and no one knows what kind of success he may or may not have. The kid isn’t slow though.

  19. BillyBucco Says:

    Capt Tim
    Detroit got Carlton and then proceeded to take CB in round 1 AND round 2.
    And they traded up for Terrion Arnold. That tells you all you need to know about C Davis. Tykee Smith is already better than Davis and will hit the ground running because his instincts are OFF THE CHARTS.
    You usually have pretty good takes but this one is a swing and a miss.
    He will start at Nickel AND be a backup safety where Izien can play nickel.
    We absolutely UPGRADED.

  20. Mark A Swygert Says:

    Some of you guys refer to watching film and making your player judgments based on that. You know, you can compile a highlight reel or a low light reel on any player these days. When someone has Smith’s production and you watch his film and label him sub-par, I think it reflects badly on your critical skills.

  21. catcard202 Says:

    I’m not as critical of the Smith pick as some…but did question why not grab Peyton Wilson there in the 3rd (where he was a VALUE PICK), knowing that LB was a much thinner position group than DB/S…ILB group is paper thin.

    LVD fighting an undefeated Father Time….Jones & Russell are PS/ST only types… SVD is untested…& though Britt (projected ILB2 next to LVD) may be a great guy & have leadership qualities above and beyond anything White ever was…He’s slow, hip stiff & 100% suspect against the pass…Which is not great in the NFL (>60% Passing League)

  22. A Bucs Fan Says:

    @Catcard – Payton Wilson was passed on and taken off some teams boards because he failed medicals. He had shoulder surgery and apparently the surgery was bad and his shoulder injury will linger. He also suffered two knee injuries and in one of his knees he doesn’t have the ACL ligament. He’s a good player but with his substantial injury history and the missing ACL you just don’t know how long his body will hold up. That’s my opinion/speculation as to why he dropped so far and the Bucs passed on him.

  23. JimBobBuc Says:

    I’m with @CatCard, I would have gone another area like ILB or even OL again. I like Tykee, no problem with his speed as he makes plays. Also, our WR coach Bryan McClendon just came in from UGA and knows all about Tykee. I feel good about Tykee but feel we had bigger needs elsewhere.

  24. Capt.Tim Says:

    I like the kid too.
    But dont think he has the fluidity to play slot or outside Cb.
    I think hes gonna be a hybred “star” safety/Lb.
    Thats a cool position.

    But I dont think hes gonna be a corner, and we already had two starting safeties.
    Standard thinking is that your first rounds should produce starters.
    I dont see a starting position for Tykee.
    That doesnt mean I think hes a bad player. It means hes a good player, but not gonna unseat our starters.

  25. catcard202 Says:

    A Bucs Fan…I get the medical history on P.Wilson…But that’s why he wasn’t the 1st LB off the board & a value pick late in the 3rd. His tape/production was undeniable & he tested through the roof w/ his medicals being what they were.

    Frankly speaking…I don’t care if he’s a 1 contract career guy…The NFL is a “today league”…Not looking at anyone & saying “he’ll anchor our team for a decade”…That’s all hyperbole BS “Hope”…Which is not a plan for success.

    I want a guy that plays like a soldier…Goes & does his job dinged up without complaints…P.Wilson is that kind of dude… High pain tolerance & unquestioned passion for the game. Watch & see what he accomplishes in PIT…I’m betting he’ll be in contention for DRoY by seasons end….& think we are likely will look back in a couple years & mark this years draft as a real missed opportunity.