Chicago Bears general manager has his troubles drafting early but his selection of linebacker Roquan Smith will be one of his best choices.

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace has his difficulties drafting prospects in the first round. He has Kevin White, Leonard Floyd, and Mitchell Trubisky on his resume, and none of them has been what you’d consider a success. Only Trubisky is still on the team and his tenure in Chicago is tenuous at best.

There is one other first-round pick I didn’t mention above. He is linebacker Roquan Smith. The Bears chose him with the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He looks like a great pick, despite some apprehension about some of his actions.

In his two seasons with Chicago, Smith has 222 tackles (13 for loss), 7 sacks, 7 passes defended, and 2 sacks. After registering 121 tackles in his rookie season, he was on track to have even more in 2019 before a torn pectoral muscle in Week 14 cost him the rest of the season.

Look for Smith to have a breakout season for the Bears in 2020. He’s put together two good seasons already and he’s ready to be even better. Bleacher Report agrees. They feel he could help determine the NFC North champion in 2020. This is what they had to say about Smith:

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After an impressive rookie season in which he tallied 121 tackles, Roquan Smith looked to be on his way to becoming one of the best inside linebackers in the game. However, he got off to a slow start in his second season. To his credit, Smith rebounded over the season’s second half…Smith’s range, athleticism and instincts are all excellent, so it’s a matter of putting it all together in 2020.

Smith had his best game the week before injuring his pectoral muscle. On Thanksgiving Day against the Detroit Lions, he had 16 tackles (2 for loss), and 2 sacks. His second sack was important, happening with the game on the line. The Lions had a third-and-nine on the Bears’ 26 with 41 seconds left in the game. The Bears were holding on to a 24-20 lead. Smith registered a 13-yard loss on the sack and ended the Lions’ hope for a victory.

Some have doubts about Smith, however. He got off to a rough start when he held out most of training camp and missed the entire preseason due to a language disagreement in his contract. He still had a terrific season, though.

Then, last season, he mysteriously missed the Week 4 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. Neither Smith nor the Bears offered a reason other than it wasn’t related to an injury. In fact, at one point the team announced Smith was on indefinite leave. It was a short-lived leave, however, because he came back and played in the Week 5 game against the Oakland Raiders in London.

That mystery raised some people’s concern but Smith came back and played well. Things calmed down before Smith again made news recently when he posted a video of him partying on a boat with a pornstar.

While he was going against the Covid-19 rules for social distancing but he didn’t break any laws. He’s a man in his twenties enjoying the life of an athlete during the offseason. It wasn’t like he was supposed to be preparing for a playoff game or something.

Smith has a great combination of strength and speed. He can rush and get into the backfield, play against the run well, or drop back in coverage. He’s healthy and ready for the season to play and he’ll have a breakout season. He’ll be the next in the Chicago Bears’ list of great linebackers.

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