Tykee Smith NFL Draft Prospect Profile and Scouting Report

Georgia Safety Tykee Smith - 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Title: Tykee Smith NFL Draft Prospect Profile and Scouting Report

Name: Tykee Smith

School: Georgia

Year: Redshirt Senior 

Position: Defensive Back/Safety

Measurables: 5’10 ”, 202 lbs. (Combine Measurements)

Combine: ARM: 31 5/8”. HAND: 9 1/4”. VERTICAL: 36”. BROAD: 10’0”. BENCH: 16. 40-YD DASH: 4.46. 10-YD SPLIT: 1.58. 20-YD SHUTTLE: 4.33.


Courtesy of Sports-Reference.com


General Info:

The graduating Bulldog, Smith, started his college football journey in a pretty unusual place … as a West Virginia Mountaineer in the Fall of 2019. As a freshman at West Virginia, Smith played in all 12 of the Mountaineers’ games and started 8 of them at safety. His play earned him recognition on the Football Writers’ Freshman All-American honor. With 53 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and two interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown), it’s not hard to see why he quickly gained recognition.

Smith’s sophomore year with West Virginia proved even more productive with 61 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, and another couple of interceptions. Though he was listed at safety, he played against slot receivers in the nickel for a lot of his snaps. With his play continuing to develop, his reputation did the same. Nationally, a number of outlets and writers recognized Smith on All-Big 12 and All-America First and Second Team lists.

Smith transferred to the University of Georgia in the Fall of 2021, but his first year in Athens, Georgia was stunted by an early season injury. In his 2022 campaign, he adjusted to the increased talent level in the SEC with 28 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks. On a loaded Georgia defense, defensive coordinator Will Muschamp liked to put Smith at the nickel.

In 2023, Smith put together a great season to bookend his college football career. He made 46 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, 4 interceptions, and another couple passes defensed. For his production, he was recognized by SEC coaches on their All-SEC Second Team list, as well as earning a spot on CBS’s All-America Second Team. He projects to be a 3rd - 5th round prospect in the 2024 draft.


Positional Skills:


Throughout his college football career, Smith showed the speed to hang with just about anyone who lined up across from him. His speed definitely increased after he transferred to Georgia, but he already had that tool in his toolbelt at West Virginia. At the combine, he tested with a 1.58s on his 10-yard split. His agility proved to be enough to hang with shifty receivers in the slot at the SEC level as well.

His physicality stood out as another strength of his. Smith was not shy about getting hands up and into the chest of a receiver, and was not one to draw a penalty flag in the process. His tough play consistently meant he was disrupting routes, timing, and play concepts for opposing offenses.

Whether he was playing against Texas in 2020 as a Mountaineer, or playing against South Carolina’s Xavier Legette in 2023 as a Bulldog, Smith was a reliable zone defender. He balanced his eyes between the backfield and the man in front of him consistently, to close gaps quickly on pass attempts. He didn’t gamble much, consistently remaining in position near the middle of the field to react to whatever the offense was doing.  

His vision and reactions also were huge assets in his run defense. He seemed to be able to read offensive keys pre-snap, as he was consistently in position to make tackles near the line of scrimmage. When he wasn’t coming down with tackles, he was able to tighten up running lanes by throwing all of his box-y 200-pound frame into offensive linemen. A great example of his potential in the run game actually came defending a screen pass against South Carolina in 2023. Late in the first quarter, he jumped a bubble screen to erase a block and free up open field for his teammates to gang tackle the receiver as soon as the ball was caught. This kind of play is exemplary of the player that Smith is: Not necessarily the guy always getting the stat, but always in the area making great plays easier for his teammates.

The guy also does make plays of his own though. About 5 minutes into the first quarter against Tennessee in 2023, he took advantage of good pre-snap position with great reaction to close the distance and take down a running back at the line of scrimmage, shedding a block from an offensive lineman along the way. A couple plays later, he made another line-of-scrimmage tackle on a 3rd & 3 to force a punt. He’s a game-changer for his teammates, and a finisher when it counts.


While Smith had the agility to hang with SEC talent, I do wonder how much his hips will help him or hinder him at the pro level when top-end speed and quickness are a guarantee that every receiver brings to the table. Plays like the first snap against Tennessee in 2023 (a home-run of a run play from speedster running back Jaylen Wright) add to this concern.

Smith’s arm length and hand size make me wonder if he’ll be able to create turnovers like he was able to do for most of his time college. He wasn’t concerningly below the median in either category, but length is very useful for a guy whose strength is the nickel position. 

Smith struggled to have the production in his first year in Georgia, as play speed and talent increased. I’d expect a similar 1-2 year period of adjustment for him in the pros. That said, I think he’s too smart and too well prepared to ever be a bust. I think he’s a guy who needs time.


Fit with the Packers:

We all love Keisean Nixon, right? Right. Good. But Nixon’s greatest asset for this Packers team is his ability to return kicks at an all-pro level. His play as a slot corner (while HUGE against the Chiefs in 2023) is not the long-term answer for Green Bay at the position …  Unless he takes a huge leap. If the Packers take a flier on Tykee Smith—a career nickel at two universities—they’d give themselves a low-risk/high-reward chance to secure the position for 4+ years. 

Smith’s physicality at the line of scrimmage would make him the kind of hybrid will-linebacker/nickel corner who can punish offenses in the run and in the pass. He doesn’t need to be the star of the show either. He’d open up a lot of opportunities for big plays for star defenders from Rashan Gary to Xavier McKinney to Jaire Alexander. The guy just punishes whoever’s in front of him in the run and makes good reads in the pass. 

Personality-wise, his ferocity on the field would fit in will with a defensive back group including such eccentric competitors as Jaire Alexander and Carrington Valentine. This kind of lunch-pale bruiser with a knack for being in the right place at the right time would also be a fun addition for the attack-first-ask-questions-later defense that coordinator Jeff Hafley wants to implement this Fall.





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1 points

Comments (6)

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stockholder's picture

April 24, 2024 at 06:44 pm

Another good safety-
Too good to drop out of the top 100.

0 points
LLCHESTY's picture

April 24, 2024 at 07:42 pm

I don't think you can pigeonhole Smith as just a nickel. He played the star spot for Georgia which isn't strictly nickel responsibilities but also tasked with taking on Ts and TEs in the run game. Has good speed. Not the biggest guy and his fearlessness could shorten his career but I think overall he fits what Hafley wants to do more than Bullard. Smith is the anti Savage in the run game. If you want to play aggressively this is good guy to bring in.

Guys that play big ball as Freshmen and Sophomores usually have better odds of being successful in the NFL. Got more chances to play some deep ball at WV as shown here.


1 points
GregC's picture

April 25, 2024 at 03:25 am

Nice highlights, thanks. There may be more good options at safety than were initially reported. There just aren't any obvious first round talents. The LB options still look really limited to me, so I hope the Packers get their LB with the #41 pick or even earlier. They can get a decent safety later.

0 points
Coldworld's picture

April 25, 2024 at 07:37 am

In my opinion he’s a slot option and back up S prospect in Green Bay. There are better nickle CB prospects with some outside ability that Tykee Smith‘s athleticism probably doesn’t. He’s an early third day prospect in my view. I can see him helping with depth. He’s a good STer I believe.

0 points
PackEyedOptimist's picture

April 24, 2024 at 08:11 pm

Bench 29?! I have bench 16 on him.

Bleacher Report has him at 127 I believe, right where we pick. I'd happily add him there.

1 points
GeorgeRipley's picture

April 26, 2024 at 04:31 am

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