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NFL Draft Prospect Preview - Tykee Smith

by Ryan Myers


Photo courtesy of 247Sports.


At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.


Today’s Spotlight - Georgia, Safety, Tykee Smith


Name - Tykee Smith

Pos - S

Team - Georgia

HT/WT - 5’10” 205 lbs.

Home - Philadelphia, PA


Tykee Smith played his high school football at Imhotep Charter High where he was a two-time team captain, 2017 All-Philadelphia Public League First Team selection, and 2017 USA Today Pennsylvania All-American. In his senior season in 2018, he played in 10 games, finishing with 26 total tackles, including 17 solo tackles and eight tackles for loss. He also tallied an interception and a fumble recovery. His high school performance earned him 3-star ratings from ESPN and 247Sports, and a 4-star rating from Rivals.com. Smith was highly recruited and chose West Virginia for the next step of his football career.


In his first season with the Mountaineers, Smith played in all 12 games, starting 8 of them. He finished the year with 53 tackles, including 36 unassisted tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. He also registered 2 interceptions, returning one of them for a TD. He was 5th on the team in tackles and continued to start in his second season. In year 2, he finished with 61 tackles including 8 TFL. He also tacked on 2 more interceptions. After the shortened 2020 season, he decided to transfer to Georgia.


Before his first season with Georgia, he was injured in camp, which led to him missing the first 5 games of the season. He spent most of this season coming off the bench and only tallied 5 tackles. In 2022, Smith played in 14 games, starting 4 of them for the Bulldogs' defense. He accrued 28 total tackles including 2.5 TFL and 2 sacks. This earned him a starting role this season with a chance to prove himself before the NFL draft. 


In his final college season this year, Smith played in 14 games, making 12 starts. He made 70 total tackles, including 8.5 TFL and 2 sacks. He also had 4 interceptions. He led the team in tackles and interceptions and played well enough to solidify himself as one of the top coverage safeties in the class.


Tykee Smith shows exceptional speed in coverage and is able to play effective press coverage on most receivers without worry of being burned. His recovery skills are some of the best in the class as he shows good burst and ball tracking skills. His reliable hands allow him to create turnovers and knock away any passes in his reach. His instincts and his speed give him the ability to play well not just in man coverage, but in zone schemes as well. 


Smith is a bit undersized for the typical NFL safety and will likely need to add some pounds to be an effective tackler in the league. He’s showed sparks of physical play in college but does not consistently attack as strongly as anticipated or desired to make effective tackles. However, Smith is not afraid of contact and will be willing to make hits no matter the situation, and if he adds some weight, he will have a good chance to be a very efficient safety in the NFL.


A player whom Tykee Smith has drawn comparisons to is Minnesota product, and current Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Antoine Winfield Jr. The two players have similar builds, both measuring around 5’10” and just over 200 pounds. They have similar playing styles and Winfield is a great cover safety with willingness to play downhill to stop the run as well. 


Strengths

  • Speed

  • Coverage Versatility

  • Ball Tracking

  • Hands


Weaknesses

  • Size

  • Length

  • Tackling

  • Physicality


Final Analysis


Smith’s versatility in coverage will be valuable to NFL teams and will help him on draft day along with his ball tracking ability and ability to create incompletions and turnovers. His willingness to play downhill and his exceptional coverage skills will make him a name to watch out for when safeties begin coming off the draft board this year.


Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 4th or 5th round

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