No, it doesn’t make up for a second consecutive Pro Bowl snub.
But it still counts as a snazzy award in my book.
NFL.com writer Nick Shook puts Roquan Smith on his 2021 All-Pro Team. To be clear, this isn’t the official All-Pro squad. Instead, it is just Shook’s own personal picks. Shook’s selections are a result of teaming the eye test with Next Gen Stats to come up with a tip-top All-Pro bunch. And whether it’s the ye ole peepers or #TheData, it all comes out to Smith earning All-Pro honors in Shook’s book.
“Smith is tied for second among all linebackers in run stuffs with 19, and he’s tallied an incredible 88 stops on 963 total defensive snaps,” Shook explains. “Add in six quarterback pressures, four hurries and three sacks, and you have a three-down linebacker living up to his status as a first-round pick out of Georgia. Oh, and we can’t forget his one interception, three passes defensed and 163 total tackles, the fifth-most in the NFL.”
There is no doubting Smith was on one this past season:
Roquan Smith being able to make these kind of run stops while being a top 5 coverage LB makes him a VERY valuable defender. 20+ mill AAV soon. pic.twitter.com/9NCtmKWjho
— Brandon Robinson (@BRobNFL) October 20, 2021
Roquan Smith with a potential game-saving sack after a COSTLY fumble on the kickoff 💥
— The Game Day NFL (@TheGameDayNFL) November 9, 2021
Few linebackers can make splash plays in coverage, as a run-stuffer, and rushing the passer. The Bears employ one of them. And if I was running Chicago’s GM and coach search, I’d make sure to highlight his attributes, skills, and accomplishments to any potential hire. Just saying … can’t hurt, could help.
Shook admits he missed the boat on Smith, even going as far as to snub Smith from a list of Pro Bowl snubs. Which, while inexcusable, is still somewhat understandable. Let’s be honest with each other. Pro Bowl honors most often go to good players on great teams. As is often the case, great players on sub-par teams are left on the outside looking in on their peers. But Shook extends an olive branch, as if to say “my bad about that snub” to Bears fans reading. Noble stuff, my guy. In response, I’d encourage Bears fans to call off the dogs and play nice with Shook.
No matter how one evaluates his season, Smith was a baller. He set a new career-best with 163 tackles. And before you offer up a “well, but, 17 games” caveat, just know that Smith was able to surpass his 2020 total of 139 tackles during his 14th game of the 2021 season. So, stick that where the sun don’t shine under that Soldier Field turf. Smith also came way with 95 solo tackles, 12 tackles-for-loss, 3 sacks, 4 quarterback hits, and his first career pick-six. It was a fourth year to remember for the Georgia product.
Now … how about that extension?