With the eighth overall pick in the 2018 draft, the Chicago Bears select linebacker Roquan Smith out of Georgia. The fourth first round selection in the Ryan Pace era, the Bears decide to go defense for the second time under Pace’s lead. With Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb, and Ohio State corner Denzel Ward all off the board at the eighth, Smith’s versatility and explosiveness will slide in nicely to the rising defense in Chicago.
Apart of a new breed of linebacker, Smith brings pass coverage and mobility to the linebacker position. A master of open field tackling, he can flow with the game no matter how fast paced an offense decides to be. As the college game continues to shift faster and faster towards the dreaded spread offense which slowly drips into the NFL by providing faster and more versatile athletes, Smith matches the ideal mold of a modern linebacker to a T.
While a wee undersized, standing at a relatively meager six foot one inch with only 225 pounds on his frame, his 4.51 speed makes him a dangerous one-two punch alongside fellow former Georgia linebacker in Leonard Floyd. With this pick, the Bears currently hold among the most enticing defense in the league. The pass rush still has question marks as Smith doesn’t offer too much in that department due to his size but the Pace is starting to piece together quite the defense.