Georgia Edge Rusher Nolan Smith to Visit the Bears This Weekend

The Georgia Bulldogs were loaded with talent in each of the last two seasons. No wonder they’ve won back-to-back national titles. And when it comes to the upcoming NFL Draft, it isn’t surprising to see a handful of UGA products getting mocked to go in the first round. So while we’ve had our eyes on the likes of defensive tackle Jalen Carter and offensive lineman Broderick Jones, a third Georgia product is catching our eye.

Let’s keep an eye on Nolan Smith, who has been garnering some buzz lately as a possible Bears draft target.

Chicago sports media personality David Kaplan shares that Smith is set to visit the Bears starting on Sunday. Kaplan is the latest local to connect the Bears and Smith. Recently, NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock wrote Smith was built to be a piece of the Bears’ draft puzzle. Smith to the Bears in a recent mock draft. And in his most recent mock draft, Schrock sends Smith to Chicago. But only after trading back with the Tennessee Titans (who slide up to get QB Will Levis). That feels like an oddly specific plan of attack. Especially since there hasn’t been much buzz with Smith and the Bears leading up to this recent run. Suddenly, I’m curious about the fit.

Smith, 22, was a star at Georgia. He was part of a team that won a pair of national titles in 2021 and 2022. When he was on the field, Smith was a stud, picking up 12.5 sacks, 20 tackles-for-loss, and 110 total tackles over the course of 38 games in four seasons. Sure, Smith’s 2022 season was cut short due to a torn pectoral muscle, but he put up 7 tackles-for-loss and 3 sacks in 8 games. Racking up splash plays in limited action for a high-profile SEC powerhouse is something that’ll grab anyone’s attention. And it certainly makes Smith an interesting prospect worth digging in on ahead of the NFL Draft.

However, I have questions regarding Smith’s fit. Based on a limited sample of draft picks made and free-agent acquisitions brought into Halas Hall during the Ryan Poles era, the trends suggest the Bears have an affinity for lengthy players. The likes of Tremaine Edmunds (on the defensive side) and Braxton Jones (on the offensive side) come to mind here. But Smith checks in at 6-2 and 238 pounds. Height doesn’t measure heart. Or skill. However, size is a notable box that Smith isn’t checking.

Then again, Smith’s showing at the NFL Scouting Combine was impressive. Smith ran the 40-yard dahs in 4.39 seconds, put up a 41.5-inch vertical jump, and 10-foot, 8-inch broad jump. In other words, between testing and the tape, Smith’s size might not be the deal-breaker we might otherwise expect. Even still … I’m not totally sold on drafting Smith as the best use of a first-round pick. This isn’t to say I’m not open to it. After all, I spent a healthy chunk of my football life watching 6-1, 268-pound Dwight Freeney wreck opposing offensive linemen, ball carriers, and quarterbacks over the years. Let this serve as a reminder that size isn’t everything, no matter what you’ve read on the internet.

By hosting Smith for a top-30 visit, Chicago’s front office is going the extra mile to get a better feel for the prospect. These top-30 visits might not be predictive of what the Bears will do. But that they’ve been bringing in offensive and defensive linemen in waves suggests they know those position groups need work. The Bears being thorough also hints they’re willing to exhaust all options before attacking those spots in the draft. Perhaps isn’t your cup of tea as a prospect. Maybe he doesn’t fit the mold of what we expect. But that might not matter if he knocks the Bears’ socks off in this interview process. It’ll be fascinating to follow Smith’s draft status. And not just leading up to draft day either. Because he is now officially on our radar as a potential Bears draft target.

For more from Kaplan, check out the REKAP below:

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

more bears news

Caleb Williams is One of 13 Players Scheduled to be at the NFL Draft

If the Chicago Bears do the obvious thing and take Caleb Williams with the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the USC quarterback will be in attendance for that magic moment. ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter shares the list...

Hmmm: Jared Verse Keeps Popping Up a 2024 Bears Draft Target

Florida State pass rusher Jared Verse is a name I've been seeing pop up in connection with the Chicago Bears a bunch in recent days. And once I realized I was telling myself "hmm ... that is an interesting trend"...

Caleb Williams Dunking on Haters Brings Me Joy

Caleb Williams isn't even the Chicago Bears quarterback yet, and he is already giving off a vibe that I can appreciate. Williams — who, like us — has time on his hands to kill ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft. And the...

Jayden Daniels Has a Meeting With the Minnesota Vikings

Jayden Daniels watch is ON. Unless something wildly unpredictable happens between now and April 25, the Chicago Bears will select USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. But what happens after that is anyone's...

Great Bears Trades, Watch Out For New Helmets, Patrick, OJ, and Other Bears Bullets

Mercury in retrograde during an eclipse season sure is doing a number on me. Let's just try to make it through this set of Bears Bullets and move on as best we can. The waiting is the hardest part. But...

It Looks Like Jaylon Johnson is Getting a New Number

Jaylon Johnson's new number will have a familiar look. It seems as if CB1 will be wearing No. 1 in 2024: https://twitter.com/NBAxJay1/status/1778213649670422753 Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson posting a tweet with an image from his college days rocking the No....

Here’s What “The Beast” Says About Caleb Williams (And Other Prospects Connected to the Bears)

Seeing Dane Brugler's annual drop of "The Beast" is kin to hearing a doorbell ring on Christmas Day in that I get filled with the same type of excitement because I know something wonderful awaits. And since the Chicago Bears...

This Malik Nabers Description Has Me Hoping He Falls to the Chicago Bears on NFL Draft Night

The Athletic's Bruce Feldman has a sourced mock draft based on conversations he has had with college football coaches and NFL sources. It is loaded with anecdotes, intel, nuggets, and tidbits about the 2024 NFL Draft's top prospects. In this...

2024 NFL Mock Draft: Are Caleb Williams & Rome Odunze Destined For Chicago?

Only two weeks remain until the NFL Draft. Plenty of rumors are circulating regarding who could move up and who could potentially trade back. With the amount of potential first-round quarterbacks in the draft, we certainly have the potential for...

The Bears Are Switching Up Their Food and Drink Game at Soldier Field

It brings me no joy to admit that the food and beverage options at Soldier Field are disappointing. Couple that with some lackluster teams in recent years, and it serves as a reminder that there hasn’t been much to be...

Latest News

Rays vs. Giants: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

On Friday, in a series opener at Tropicana Field, Tyler Alexander starts for the Tampa Bay Rays (7-6) against Keaton Winn and the San Francisco Giants (5-8), with first pitch scheduled for 6:50 PM ET.If you're planning on watching this...

Knicks vs. Nets Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats and Best Bets – Friday, April 12, 2024

The New York Knicks (48-32) are big, 10-point favorites as they try to continue a three-game winning streak when they host the Brooklyn Nets (32-48) on Friday, April 12, 2024 at Madison Square Garden. The contest airs at 7:30 PM...

Suns vs. Kings Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats and Best Bets – Friday, April 12, 2024

The Sacramento Kings (45-35) will look to De'Aaron Fox (eighth in the league scoring 26.7 points per game) when they try to overcome Kevin Durant (fifth in the NBA with 27.2 PPG) and the Phoenix Suns (47-33) on Friday, April...

Thunder vs. Bucks Predictions, Best Bets and Odds – Friday, April 12, 2024

The Oklahoma City Thunder (55-25) are big, 14.5-point favorites as they attempt to extend a three-game win streak when they host the Milwaukee Bucks (49-31) on Friday, April 12, 2024 at Paycom Center. The matchup airs at 8:00 PM ET...

Cavaliers vs. Pacers Predictions, Best Bets and Odds – Friday, April 12, 2024

The Indiana Pacers (46-34) are underdogs (+3) as they try to build on a three-game win streak when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers (47-33) at 7:30 PM ET on Friday, April 12, 2024 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The contest airs...

Knicks vs. Nets Predictions, Best Bets and Odds – Friday, April 12, 2024

The New York Knicks (48-32) are heavily favored (-10.5) to build on a three-game winning streak when they host the Brooklyn Nets (32-48) at 7:30 PM ET on Friday, April 12, 2024 at Madison Square Garden. The contest airs on...

Flames vs. Ducks Prediction: Picks, Live Odds and Moneyline – Friday, April 12, 2024

The Calgary Flames are at the Anaheim Ducks on April 12 at 10:00 PM ET, and are -155 favorites, with the home team at +130.Flames vs. Ducks Favorite, Moneyline, TotalFavorite: Flames (-155)Underdog: Ducks (+130)Total: 6Best Flames vs. Ducks Promo Codes[lasso...

Phillies vs. Pirates: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

Cristopher Sanchez will take the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies (7-6) when they host starter Bailey Falter and the Pittsburgh Pirates (9-4) on Friday, with first pitch at 6:40 PM ET.Keep scrolling to find out all the details on how...

Diamondbacks vs. Cardinals: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Arizona Diamondbacks (6-7), who will give the ball to Brandon Pfaadt, host the St. Louis Cardinals (6-7) with Steven Matz on the mound, Friday at 9:40 PM ET.If you're intending to watch this game, keep reading for TV and...

Mariners vs. Cubs: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Seattle Mariners (5-8), who will give the ball to Bryce Miller, host the Chicago Cubs (7-5) with Jordan Wicks on the hill, Friday at 9:40 PM ET.The article below will provide you with everything you need to know to...

more bears news