Recent rookie holdouts show no concern for Roquan Smith
Many fans are concerned and think that Roquan Smith needs to get into camp as soon as possible. While it would not hurt, recent holdouts have seen rookies jump right into production
When Roquan Smith does not report to practice today it will offically be the second longest holdout since the new CBA. This has left many Chicago Bears fans frustrated. Comment sections are flooded with fans demanding Smith get back into camp. He is hurting himself and the team they say. The question becomes is this true or narrative? While it would not hurt to get Smith into camp, recent rookie holdouts have had success.
Of course, the longest rookie holdout in the new CBA is the most recent one. Joey Bosa held out with the same agent as Roquan Smith. In disheartening news, the Bosa holdout dragged into the regular season. Still, all of the missed time and reps did not hurt Bosa.
Bosa put up two sacks in his first very game. But what about getting him conditioned to the defense with those valuable days at camp? Sometimes talent is talent. Bosa went on to have a 10.5 sack season, and despite missing four games won Defensive Rookie of the Year. He only improved on his 2016 numbers the following year.
Get to camp Roquan, or you might end up like, Joey Bosa?
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Blackmon is the only other player since the new CBA to have a holdout reach 12 days. Justin Blackmon is more of a cautionary outcome than Joey Bosa. Still, the shape of his career had nothing to do with the holdout and more to do with a personal issue.
After holding out, he had what ended up being a career year in his rookie season. Blackmon caught 65 passes for 865 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie. Blackmon did start slow, with four catches in the first three weeks, but obviously finished strong for the Jaguars.
If you were to say that Smith could end up with a career like Blackmon that would be a tough stretch due to his off of the field struggles, but on the field, a holdout did not affect his rookie year much.
The most recent holdout before the CBA was Michael Crabtree. Crabtree had different concerns than Roquan Smith and it is almost hard to compare considering training camp sessions were also more valuable before the new CBA.
Still, the Crabtree hold out went into the season and he missed five games as a rookie. He finished the year with 625 yards, a pace of 909 yards in his rookie year. His first game back featured five receptions for 56 yards.
Bonus: Todd Gurley and Odell Beckham
While they did not holdout, these are the most recent examples of players who missed the entirety of training camp during their rookie season, but still played in the regular season.
Both were coming off of injuries but the same idea is in mind that these are rookies missing valuable reps in camp with their teammates. Then, early into the season they are tossed out there cold without that camp experience.
Gurley finished with 1,106 yards in 13 games played. After a six carry performance to start his career, he exploded in his second game with 19 rushes for 146 yards.
Odell Beckham played in 12 games and had 12 touchdowns and 1,300 yards receiving. While he had a touchdown in his first game back, it was on four receptions for 44 yards. Still, by his fourth NFL week he had 156 receiving yards.
The Justin Blackmon outcome is obviously bad, but again, he had more mental health concerns that affected his long term career, and it was not the holdout that set his career off. In fact, the holdout year resulted in his best season in the NFL. The argument could be made that even Justin Blackmon did not need training camp as a rookie.
The fact of the matter is that this issue is on the minds of all Bears fans. We want to see him suit up. But at the end of the day, talent wins out. When a player is as talented as Smith, it is not going to take him long to figure things out.
So, yes it may be annoying right now. However, it likely has no barring on the future, or his performance, so let it ride out and do not put much stock into it.