Roquan Smith and His Rookie Teammates Arrive With Great Expectations and Other Bullets

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Roquan Smith and His Rookie Teammates Arrive With Great Expectations and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears News, Chicago Bears Rumors, NFL News and Rumors

Roquan Smith’s biggest fan (his mother, duh!) is ready to root on her son in Chicago … but isn’t quite ready to give up on her original team:

  • Smith is going to be a fan favorite in Chicago, but has long been a favorite of football talent evaluators. Back in April, Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage praised Smith and favorably compared him to Ray Lewis. I suppose Savage would know, he was the Ravens’ Director of College Scouting when Baltimore drafted Lewis in 1996. According to Lorin Cox of BearsWire, a current Ravens executive thought highly of Smith. Eric DeCosta, who is currently the Ravens’ Assistant GM and heir apparent to Ozzie Newsome, told the Baltimore Ravens’ “The Lounge Podcast”: “If you’ve got a chance to get a guy like Roquan Smith, well, you probably should take him.” Baltimore has a strong history in drafting linebackers, so that’s reassuring to hear from DeCosta.
  • Smith is the headliner of a rookie class that will be met with great expectations as soon as training camp begins. It’s also one that Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller says was his favorite. The Bears didn’t have a bunch of picks or make a bunch of moves, but they made the most of what they had, which was highlighted by Smith (who Miller is convinced Vic Fangio saw some Patrick Willis in), offensive lineman James Daniels, and receiver Anthony Miller (who Miller believes will compete for the WR2 spot immediately).
  • Miller’s BR teammate Chris Roling believes there is “immense pressure” on the Bears’ first three picks to provide an immediate impact. The stakes will be high, but each of the team’s first three selections are in a good position to succeed. Smith will be playing in tandem with fellow inside linebacker Danny Trevathan, along side edge rusher Leonard Floyd, and behind defensive linemen Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman. If the veterans of that group perform to expectations, Smith will be in a spot to clean up.
  • Smith isn’t the only one set up to succeed early. Even though Daniels would have probably preferred being a first-round selection, falling to Chicago was something of a best-case scenario. Daniels will get a chance to learn from a well-respected offensive line coach and play in an offense where his athleticism and ability to block on the move will be put to use. If center Cody Whitehair returns to his rookie year self and left tackle Charles Leno Jr. continues to be reliable and productive, Daniels could be part of a good, young line.
  • Not only is Miller in a great spot to grab an immediate starting role, he is also in a place to show out as a rookie. With defenses needing to game plan against Jordan Howard and Allen Robinson, other offensive weapons – such as Miller, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton, and Tarik Cohen – will be given opportunities to make plays. Miller’s ability to play inside and out will give him a leg up on other wideouts in camp, and he’ll undoubtedly want to show the Bears he was worth moving up to draft.
  • One player who will have his hands full trying to stop the Bears’ new-look offense is Packers rookie Jaire Alexander. As Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio points out, Alexander doesn’t fit the mold of traditional Green Bay cornerbacks, with new GM Brian Gutekunst breaking the unwritten rules that were set by Ron Wolf a long time ago. Meanwhile, Alexander tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he got his swagger from a former standout undersized Packers defensive back … because everything comes full circle.
  • Back to the continuing love fest that surrounds the Bears’ 2018 draft selections:

  • A couple of interesting Bears-related tidbits from Albert Breer’s most recent column at SI.com’s The MMQB. Breer explains how the Bills ended up with the seventh overall pick, detailing how Buffalo called around but struggled to find the ideal trade partner and noted “the Bears weren’t trading” out of the eighth spot.
  • Breer notes that the Bills weren’t the only team trying to trade up, writing that Raiders were trying to move up to take Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey. Oakland’s trading options were limited, but it’s possible the Bears were a team they could have considered swapping with. However, the Bears might not have landed their guy if they had pulled the trigger on a deal.
  • It’s not difficult to imagine a scenario where the Raiders (at No. 8) take McGlinchey before the 49ers can. In turn, San Francisco takes Smith, a player who fits in the middle of a defense that could lose its starting inside linebacker Reuben Foster. That would leave the Bears at No. 10 with some intriguing options, including a chance to trade down with the Cardinals at No. 15. But if the Bears were strong with their feelings regarding picking Smith, I’m not sure what kind of trade offer would have pushed them off their choice.

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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.