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Rookie DB Tykee Smith Signs First NFL Contract 

The Buccaneers now have four of their seven 2024 draft picks under contract after completing a deal with third-round selection Tykee Smith on Wednesday

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed defensive back Tykee Smith to his first NFL contract on Wednesday afternoon. Smith was selected by the Bucs in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft, and he joins fourth-round running back Bucky Irving, seventh-round tight end Devin Culp and sixth-round guard Elijah Klein as members of the rookie class to get deals done. Like the rest, Smith inked the standard four-year rookie contract.

A one-year starter at Georgia, Smith played the nickel position in Kirby Smart's base scheme. He combined slot duties with an in-the-box safety role. After playing free safety at West Virginia for two seasons manning the post, he transitioned to nickel at Georgia and produced his best season in 2023. Smith led the Bulldogs in tackles (70), tackles for loss (8.5) and interceptions (four). He received PFWA freshman All-America honors in 2019, third-team All-America and second-team All-Big 12 honors in 2020 and second-team All-SEC honors in 2023. His versatility suggests that Smith can be a versatile chess piece in Todd Bowles' system. He plays with a combination of physicality, instincts and urgency as a run defender/blitzer.

"He [Todd Bowles] said he could see me playing safety or nickel," said Smith on his role for 2024. "If I play safety then, obviously, I get an opportunity to learn from Antoine Winfield [Jr.], which would be a blessing [considering] the impact he has on the game. [I] definitely can't wait to get around him and see the type of player he is and learn under him."

In addition, the Buccaneers signed defensive lineman Earnest Brown and waived running back Patrick Laird.

Brown originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round selection (No. 174 overall) by the Los Angeles Rams in the 2021 NFL Draft. He appeared in 12 career games for the Rams, making three starts and logging 14 tackles (one for loss). The Aubrey, Texas, native played collegiately at Northwestern University (2017-20), appearing in 40 career games and recording 70 tackles (18.5 for loss), nine passes defensed, 7.0 sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

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