The Las Vegas Raiders need to do something about their terrible pass defense, and West Virginia’s Tykee Smith could help them.
Sunday’s display against Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers was more evidence that fixing the pass defense should be a priority. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was relieved of his duties following the loss so addressing the unit has been kicked into high gear. Whether it’s Rod Marinelli or another coach leading this unit, the Raiders need help at safety. Not just any safety but someone who can cover speedy receivers and deliver the big hit. That’s where Tykee Smith comes in.
Statistically speaking, the last two years were productive for Smith, playing in 21 total games. Smith amassed ten and a half tackles for a loss and an impressive 69 solo tackles. When it came to pass coverage, Smith totaled nine passes defensed, four interceptions, and returned a pick-six.
What can Smith bring to the Raiders next year?
According to Pro Football Focus, Smith played a total of 203 snaps in the box and 331 in the slot. He also improved dramatically from 2019, going from a 71.9 grade to 82.7. In addition to his defensive impact, Smith also saw action on special teams. The safety had 35 snaps covering kicks and 18 total snaps in punt returns and coverage. The biggest positive from Smith’s 2020 performance was in coverage which is why the Raiders should pursue him. Smith graded 89.7 in defending the pass, unfortunately, he might be a bit of a liability in the run game with a 68.3 grade, so there would be work to do.
Smith is a ballhawk that isn’t afraid to deliver punishing hits to incoming receivers as you can see in his highlights. The Raiders defense needs all of these traits, Johnathan Abram is still a liability in pass coverage and Smith could help alleviate this.
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