Yesterday, Bears GM Ryan Pace managed to get his guy, Roquan Smith, without trading up in the draft, and later gushed about how excited and “fired up” everyone was to land him.
Since that pick has gone down, we’ve taken time out to hear Ryan Pace’s thoughts, got to know the newest Bear in greater detail, and then binge watched his highlights like Netflix was down for the night.
But we’re not done with him yet. Smith has since addressed the media as a Chicago Bear, and I’ve collected some the highlights alongside some thoughts and commentary of my own below. Enjoy.
- So what are the Bears getting out of their new linebacker? Words from the man, himself: “A tremendous leader, first and foremost. A guy with tremendous instincts and range, as well.” Good start. But what else can fans expect? “They can count on me being a relentless guy. A high character guy on and off the field. Football IQ off the scales,” Smith said. “I can enhance any defense and enhance a locker room.” I’ll add confidence to the list of qualities, too.
- One of the most encouraging things about the offseason has been how the team’s new additions talked about the welcoming vibe, and Smith is just the latest. “I feel like a lot of teams showed the same level of interest, but Chicago, it was very special up there,” Smith said. “It definitely felt like home.” As someone who has been on the road for the better part of the last week, I can vouch for the comforts of home.
- But enough about me, more Roquan and the Bears’ interest in him leading up to draft day. “They showed a great amount of interest in me,” Smith said, while noting he felt the love from a bunch of teams. Still, Smith was unsure of where he was going to go until it happened. “It’s kind of hard to figure things out. It’s like a guessing game,” Smith explained. “It’s crazy. It’s very crazy. It’s like trying to do the NCAA March Madness bracket or something like that trying to guess where you’re going. I just tried not to worry about it. I’m so excited to be a Chicago Bear.”
- But was he surprised? Yes. “I was very surprised. You can speculate and you can make assumptions. But to actually see that phone ringing, and it’s Lake Forest, it’s an Illinois number, it’s insane and I’m like ‘is this true?’ I’m pumped.” I’m guessing Smith got a crash course on the history of Bears linebackers. And if my guess is spot on, we can add “quick learner” to his list of traits. “It’s tremendous history,” Smith said. “Way back with Dick Butkus, (Bill) George, Mike Singletary, Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher … all of those guys. Falling in line with that rich tradition it’s surreal and I’m just grateful to be a part of it.” Not only does Smith know about the Bears’ rich history of linebackers, but he seems to have a grasp of what defense means to the fans of this city and is ready to embrace the challenge. “I’m definitely coning in and giving everything I have trying to bring this defense back to excellence,” Smith said.
- As one would expect, Smith met with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio during the process. “I spent a great amount of time with coach. I know a lot about the defense and what he’s done throughout his time out in San Fran coaching up guys like NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis. There was tons of guys, he coached a lot of talent.” Oh, to be a fly on the wall for those conversations.
- Bears Nation is getting some help from a pack of Dawgs. Smith will soon join fellow Georgia product Leonard Floyd along the Bears defense, and it sounds like he’s pretty pumped up about it. “It’s insane. It’s crazy for Dawg Nation. I’m definitely excited about that, to team back up with Leonard Floyd. He’s a tremendous athlete, a tremendous teammate, so I’m definitely looking forward to it.” Floyd was an upperclassmen when Smith showed up on Georgia’s campus as a freshman. Now, history is set to repeat itself in Chicago. “I looked up to the guy, the way he made plays, and liked the way he carried himself,” Smith said. “I’m definitely excited and can’t wait to get to work with him and many of the guys on defense.
- I, for one, am looking forward to RoFlo – the newest bromance on the Chicago sports scene.
- You can check out more from Smith below: