Smith will start at cornerback in Week 13 against the Panthers with Brent Grimes (knee), Carlton Davis (knee) and M.J. Stewart (foot) all inactive, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports.
The Buccaneers will be extremely short-handed in an already vulnerable secondary Sunday, but at least Smith isn't devoid of experience. The 2016 fourth-round pick has seen action in 40 games overall in his first three seasons and logged multiple starts in 2017 when both Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves were sidelined with shoulder and hamstring injuries, respectively. Smith will look to help contain a Cam Newton-led Panthers passing attack that gets Devin Funchess (back) back from a one-game absence Sunday.
Smith filled in for Carlton Davis (groin) against the Falcons' high-powered passing attack and unsurprisingly had an active afternoon. Matt Ryan was able to rack up 354 passing yards and three touchdowns, however, with Smith missing the tackle that allowed Austin Hooper to notch one of those scores. If Davis' injury lingers into Week 7, Smith likely figures to be in line for another start versus a more manageable but still solid Browns passing attack.
Smith will start at cornerback in place of the injured Carlton Davis (groin) in Sunday's game against the Falcons, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Smith draws a tough matchup against a Falcons' aerial attack that includes a talented trio of receivers in Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley. It won't be Smith's first start of the season, however, as he led the Buccaneers in tackles Week 2.
Smith played 71 snaps while drawing a start opposite rookie Carlton Davis at left cornerback in place of Brent Grimes (groin). Grimes' eventual return should bump Smith back to nickel corner duties, but he's shown up well with 13 total tackles and a trio of defensed passes over his first two games.
Smith ultimately logged 44 snaps on defense and 17 additional on special teams on a very busy afternoon. The 25-year-old could have plenty of similar weeks ahead of him in the immediate future if starting cornerback Vernon Hargreaves' shoulder injury is as serious as feared. The 2016 fourth-round pick proved to be a solid tackler from the cornerback position last season -- registering 62 stops (51 solo) while also forcing three fumbles and recovering one over 15 games -- while also defending five passes, so there could be some deep-league IDP value there if he's in for a multi-week stint as a starter.
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||15||62||51.0||11||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||5|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||38||31.0||7||0||1||0||0.0||0||0||6|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||10||169||16.9||24||0||0|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||15||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||15||0||0||2||0||1||0||1||0|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||0||1||0||1||3||1||0|