With rookie mini-camp behind us, let’s take a look at another one of the Buccaneers’ newest additions. Today we look at Ryan Smith from North Carolina Central.
This time of year, the NFL franchises have a lot of new faces. The draft has gone by, undrafted free agents have attended tryouts, and some have even been signed to contracts. As the teams sit with 90 man rosters, there are a lot of unfamiliar faces. Our Buccaneers, in addition to three undrafted free agents, there is a draft class of seven.
Who are these guys?
More from The Pewter Plank
- Devin White posts cryptic message to Lavonte David on Twitter
- ESPN predicts surprising outcome to Devin White trade saga
- Updated Buccaneers depth chart after signing two players from rookie minicamp
- Todd Bowles sends clear message about Baker Mayfield’s role with Bucs
- The Athletic is wrong about Bucs one ‘must-watch’ game in 2023
Today, we are going to take a look at one of the draft picks. We look at a new member of the secondary, coming to us from a small school known as North Carolina Central. Today’s spotlight is on Ryan Smith.
As usual, we start with the statistics:
Seven interceptions shows us that the man does have ball skills. The Bucs do need some of that.
Weight: 189 pounds
Arm Length: 30.5″
Hands: 8 7/8″
At the Combine, Smith showed solid speed, posting a 4.47 forty yard dash time. It’s not elite, but it is certainly average to above average. His twenty yard shuttle came in at 4.09 seconds which is nothing to sneeze at either.
Let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses from his NFL.com profile:
"Strengths: Gets a solid pop in for his initial chuck at the line of scrimmage. Very smooth in his pedal and turn and does a nice job of reading a receiver’s “tells” within his route. Quality footwork for mirror and match and sticks to the hip of his man. Plays with good balls skills and consistently turns to find the ball from man. In zone, slides according to quarterback’s eyes restricting passing Windows. Works through combo routes and comes out on right side. Not big and strong, but isn’t soft either.Weaknesses: Needs advanced instincts and to take coverage chances because closing burst is just marginal. Average long speed in the chase. Can be stacked and big-boyed on vertical routes creating difficulties playing the ball. Small hands at the end of his short arms. Acceleration from change of direction is below average. Skinny and will always be challenged by size. Ankle-biter as a tackler."
As always, time for the eye test. Let’s look at some film:
Well he is one heck of a tackler, take a look at how he lights up this guy (Smith is at the top of the screen):
It’s hard to ignore Smith’s motor as well. He plays right up until the very end, even catching a ball carrier after a long run, just before he reached the goal line. I like that he has good ball instincts, in a bit of disagreement with the above. His footwork is, generally speaking, and likes to use his hands to fight back against a wide receiver.
At 5’11”, the height concerns me as Ryan makes his transition to the NFL. Motor is one thing, but simply being short is another. It’s a tall man’s game on the outside, and he will be overmatched by many of the receivers in this league. His hand-fighting, at times, is too much, and may lead to a lot of illegal contact calls downfield. Does he play as a safety? Maybe. But to me, his closing skills are inconsistent.
Smith will get his chance to make an impact on special teams with his return skills. Unfortunately, I just don’t see a spot for him when it all comes down to it, unless it’s on the practice squad. He’s built like Hargreaves, but not as good.