In a year where so much has left Bears fans unfulfilled, Roquan Smith is realizing his potential. And that third-year leap must be celebrated.
Fortunately, I know I’m not the only one gushing about Smith’s breakout. So let’s re-live his prime-time excellence from Monday Night Football together:
Since Week 6, Roquan Smith's 81.5 grade is fourth-best in the NFL 😤pic.twitter.com/JsV3DILgIv
— PFF (@PFF) November 17, 2020
LB Roquan Smith is all over the MNF tape…
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) November 17, 2020
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 19, 2020
Smith, 23, is in the midst of a career year. Through 10 games, he has 96 total tackles, 15 tackles-for-loss, 2 sacks, 2 quarterback hits, and a forced fumble to his name. If Smith keeps this pace up, he’ll end up with 154 tackles (112 solo!) and 24 tackles-for-loss – a ridiculous 16-game pace that serves as a reminder why the Bears selected him with the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. At this rate, Pro Bowl and All-Pro consideration won’t be far behind.
Perhaps more importantly, Smith is playing like he deserves to be here for awhile. PFF’s Brad Spielberger serves up a reminder that picking up the fifth-year option on Smith’s rookie deal should be a lay-up. From there, it might not be long until we start discussing an extension to retain Smith as part of this defense’s core. Locking in a star at each level could go a long way toward sustaining success for a group that could have big changes on the horizon. But there’s no need to go down that road just yet. Instead, just soak in Smith’s greatness while you can. As a Bears fan, you deserve something to be happy about.
This has been a Roquan Smith appreciation post. Thank you for your time.