Michael Smith: Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Sweet Surprise

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IAugust 27, 2012

Former Buc Niko Koutouvides flips over Michael Smith. (photo courtesy Buccaneers.com)
Former Buc Niko Koutouvides flips over Michael Smith. (photo courtesy Buccaneers.com)

Doug Martin was supposed to be good. He's all that and more and will be the starter when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the Carolina Panthers at home on September 9.

Mark Barron was supposed to be good. He is very, very good, having already splashed with that wonderful pick-six off Tom Brady last Friday night. Not bad for a rookie.

Lavonte David was supposed to be good. He is, as he's all over the field and has the kind of motor you want. He's Mr. Hustle, he's a tackler and has already shown he can cover in the passing game.

Those guys were high picks, Barron and Martin in the first round, David in the second. All three will start.

No surprises but good news from a draft standpoint; they all appear to be every bit of the real deal.

But what about the best overall value, the best surprise of the preseason, the guy who has that "wow" factor?

How about Michael Smith?

Smith has been Mr. Splash in the kickoff return game. Speed? He was supposed to have it, and he's got it. Running ability? Now that's the nice surprise.

If you watched him last Friday against the Patriots, you saw what he can do out of the backfield. Six carries, 38 yards, better than six yards a touch. He's fast into the hole, and he's strong. He can break tackles, and he can get the tough yards.

Don't be surprised if Smith pushes his way to the third back on the depth chart.

Mossis Madu has been serviceable at best, and he doesn't have the burst of Smith. Add the fact that Smith has the speed to break a long run or take a swing pass to the house, and you've got yourself a real offensive threat.


Watching Smith has made losing the Jeff Demps sweepstakes a non-event.

Smith went for 74 yards on a kickoff return in the Miami game. Nice. Demps can stay in New England—good luck with the sprinter hamstrings when it's 10 degrees in Foxborough.

Smith appears to have it all: speed, strength and will to succeed. Add those up, and you might have one of the pure steals of the draft.

He'll get more backfield work Wednesday night against the Redskins. Don't be surprised if he does some serious damage in the final preseason game.

Seventh-rounder? Sweet surprise.


Ed Gant among 10 players waived on Monday: OneBucSite.com