Roquan Smith Already Pegged as Defensive Rookie of the Year
Only a few days after being drafted into the NFL, high expectations are already being placed on Chicago Bears rookie linebacker Roquan Smith. On the NFL Network, analyst and former NFL general manager Charley Casserly said that by the end of the 2018 season, Smith will be the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Smith entered the draft as the No. 1 ranked linebacker on many draft boards, which is why Bears general manager Ryan Pace jumped at the opportunity of selecting the Georgia product once they were on the clock with the eighth-overall pick. This made Smith the first linebacker taken in the draft. With veterans and fellow linebackers Danny Trevathan and Leonard Floyd to have as mentors, and being under the tutelage of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Smith should have a fairly easy time adjusting to the professional level.
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While in Athens, GA, Smith helped anchor a Bulldogs defense that helped lead his team to the 2018 National Championship Game. Smith’s play on the field earned him many accolades, including SEC Defensive Player of the Year, the Dick Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker, First-Team all SEC, and Consensus All-American.
With Smith in the mix, the Bears defense (which was ranked 10th in 2017) could soar to new heights, and could actually help the rookie linebacker to become the first player to win Defensive Rookie of the Year since Brian Urlacher in 2000. Furthermore, it will make Pace look like a genius for selecting him, and Casserly look like Nostradamus.