The Chicago Bears have a storied history of amazing inside linebackers. It’s the position that is arguably the most synonymous with Bears football.
From Bill George to Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, and Brian Urlacher – who goes into the Hall of Fame later this year.
Is Roquan Smith next? Clearly, GM Ryan Pace hopes so:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 27, 2018
The draft hasn’t gone as well as it could for the Bears. Four non-quarterback prospects were drafted with the first six picks, with Saquon Barkley (Giants), Denzel Ward (Browns), Bradley Chubb (Broncos), and Quenton Nelson (Colts) coming off the board. And to add a little salt in the wound, the Buccaneers were able to engineer a trade with the Bills to take a quarterback, one spot ahead of the Bears.
And yet, the way it unfolded allowed the Bears to land the best linebacker prospect, and a player who could make an intriguing case to be considered the best defensive prospect in this class.
Smith was a tackling machine for the Georgia Bulldogs, with his best season coming in 2017 when he earned 2017 Consensus All-American honors, brought home the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award, and earned the Butkus Award for being the nation’s best linebacker.
Teaming Smith and Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker helps solidify the middle of the defense. A sure-handed tackler with speed to provide sideline-to-sideline coverage, Smith is a leader with a high football IQ and plus instincts. All things considered, he fits the profile of Bears football like no other prospect on the board.
So while the Bears used free agency to build around quarterback Mitch Trubisky and get the offense up to par, it’s defensive coordinator Vic Fangio who gets a building block for the defense in Round 1.
Much more on Smith, and the fit with the Bears, to come.