Roquan Smith is Balling Out Right Now

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Roquan Smith is Balling Out Right Now

Chicago Bears

Stepping into the inside linebacker role for the Chicago Bears is no small task. It’s a position group that is littered with legends. And when you’re a top-10 pick, as Roquan Smith was back in 2018, the expectations were going to be high.

But finally, Smith is playing like he is realizing his full potential.

In his latest trip to the film room, analyst Tom Thayer highlights what an every-down linebacker looks like in this defense:

That 3-minute, 59-second clip shows off everything we thought we’d see from Smith when they drafted him with the eighth pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Extensive range that allows him to cover pass-catching running backs out of the backfield. High-end football instincts that put him into a position to make plays when he otherwise should be blocked. Pass-rushing ability that you don’t expect to see from most players at his position.

Through six games, Smith has 52 tackles (37 solo), 7 tackles-for-loss, 4 pass-breakups, and a forced fumble. Extrapolate those stats over a full 16-game season, and we’re looking at a year with 138 tackles (98 solo), 18 tackles-for-loss, 10 pass-breakups, and 3 forced fumbles. Now, that is what Bears fans were looking forward to seeing this season.

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Smith, and don’t think he doesn’t know it:

Reading this tweet while seeing Smith embark on a break-out season makes this strong start all the more delicious. His holdout as a rookie was a point of contention for some fans. As was a slow start last season as a second-year player. But all of that seems like distant history at this point. Smith came into the year in the “best shape of his life” and is playing like it.

And if Smith is just scratching the surface, then watch out! The best could still be yet to come.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.