Best Case, Worst Case: Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith
The Chicago Bears invested a top ten pick in Roquan Smith. What would be the best and worst case or the ceiling and floor of what Smith can become?
Most drafts take four years to grade. Until a team has to decide on a second contract, it is tough to see how they evaluate their own selection. So, lets look ahead to the next four years and see what could be the ceiling and floor of the Chicago Bears eighth overall pick Roquan Smith.
Year One: Roquan Smith is laying punishing blows in the preseason. From Week One through Week 17 he dominates the Defensive Rookie of the Year voting and almost wins unanimously.
Year Two: Early reports in camp are that Smith is now calling the plays. He is seeing endorsement deals as his name hits a national stage and he caps year two with back to back 100 tackle seasons and a Pro Bowl.
Year Three: The Chicago Bears now have arguably the best defense in the league, and the face of the defense has become Roquan Smith, and his speed and intensity. Smith is known for his YouTube highlight tackles and chase downs and finishes the season next to Luke Kuechly as the two first team All-Pro inside backers.
Year Four: The Chicago Bears pick up his fifth year option the first second they can and immediately shift their focus to long term. Smith signs to a long term deal that also helps the team keep pieces around him, and he keeps the reign of defense in Chicago living.
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Year One: Roquan Smith gets hurt early into training camp. He is back by the beginning of the season, but missed a lot of valuable offseason time. When he gets on the field, he and Danny Trevathan look out of sync. Trevathan gets injured, and Smith looks unprepared for the speed of the game as a signal caller.
Year Two: A lot of people pass of his first season due to the early season injury. However, the injury bug has struck again and it feels as though every other week either Danny Trevathan or Roquan Smith is out. We are experiencing the Bears middle linebacker situation in 2017 except Smith is Jerrell Freeman without the steroids.
Year Three: It still hasn’t clicked for Smith yet but a lot of buzz has been surrounding a break out for the former top ten pick. The team moved on from Trevathan and he is locked in next to Joel Iyiegbuniwe as the two have always been comfortable playing together since their rookie days. However, between the size of the two, the team is getting completely washed out in the middle of the field against the run. It is really starting to come around that the Bears drafted an undersized linebacker in the top ten.
Year Four: Chicago Bears radio waves have compelling arguments both ways about whether or not the team should pick up his fifth year option. They do. Cue the injury bug. Now the team is heading into his fifth season, a year in which he is finally making premium money for his position. However, he played a full season just once, and that was one of his worst seasons on tape. And of course, if he plays well, how do they manage an extension from there?