Michael Smith: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Finally Have Real Speed Threat

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IMay 1, 2012

Michael Smith is a pure speed merchant. (Photo courtesy Utah St.)
Michael Smith is a pure speed merchant. (Photo courtesy Utah St.)

Couldn't help notice the plethora of LaMichael James lovers in the days leading up to the 2012 draft.

Seriously? LaMichael James? For some reason the San Francisco 49ers used a second-round pick on the running back from Oregon, who is projected to be simply a situational player.

That's a lot of juice to use on a guy who isn't a three-down back.

I'll see your James and raise you a La Michael Smith, or we'll simply refer to him as—The Michael Smith from Utah State. Let's talk value for a moment, and that's where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got a lot more man for the draft pick with Smith in the seventh.

Let's examine the two players closer.

James is 5'9", 185. Smith is 5'9", 207.

James runs 4.45 in the 40. Smith runs 4.35, sometimes faster.

James has a 35-inch vertical. Smith has a 40-inch vertical.

James will be a third-down change-of-pace back. Smith will be a third-down change of pace back.

Get the picture?

The final question you James lovers need to ask yourselves is:

"Who would I rather have in Round 2—James or Lavonte David?"

What you see is two different teams with different needs and different draft attitudes. James was a simple luxury option for the 49ers. David is a man expected to win a starting linebacker job and play well.

Back to Smith. Looks like Doug "Muscle Hampster" Martin has a workout partner. Check the video and watch Smith put up 405 pounds on the bench press. Yikes!

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster has now grown to 86 with the signing of the 14 undrafted free agents. Add Connor Barth, who hasn't signed his franchise tender yet, and you're at 87, three under the camp limit.

Smith goes in as one of the most intriguing guys on that roster. He's the X-factor that the Bucs have lacked for a long, long time. That would be burning speed, the kind of speed that can go to the house on any play.

Yeah, sorry about LaMichael, but for the spot in the seventh, you've gotta love The Michael.