It did not take long to realize that Roquan Smith would be an immediate upgrade over Nick Kwiatkoski
It did not take long into the Chicago Bears loss against the Green Bay Packers to understand that Nick Kwiatoski left enough plays on the field that a move to Roquan Smith was worth exploring. Roquan Smith showed us equally as fast that it was a smart decision.
We all wondered how Smith would fare with limited practice reps, but the reason he was drafted so high was his ability to process the game fast. This showed in his ability to step in for seven tackles, and break up a pass.
Last week, Nick Kwiatkoski gave up four receptions for 41 yards in the passing game. While Smith gave up six receptions in the passing game, it was just for 42 yards. Also, while Kwiatkoski was picked on early, most of the completions Smith allowed were with the game out of hand.
Still, Smith was better against the run in this game, and that should present a comforting feeling for Bears fans. A lot of his questions coming out of college were in his ability to stand up against size and shed blockers.
While the Seattle Seahawks offensive line is not the prize competition of the year, it was a good start for Smith in that regard.
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The play linked here is an excellent example of how Smith can shed blocks in the running game. Smith keeps his arms extended away from Justin Britt so that when Rashaad Penny hits the cut back lane, Roquan Smith sheds the block and make the stuff.
Again, in this play Brittis trying to put his body on Smith in the second level. Smith is able to power through and shrug off the blocker to make another stuff in run defense.
Smith was not perfect in this area. In the play linked here, J.R. Sweezy is able to pull and get into the hole that Smith was occupying. Sweezy gets his body on Smith and latches on long enough for Penny to squeeze by.
Still, this was the area of weakness. Smith is already showing strengths in areas that could have been considered weaknesses. It has to be looked at as a significant positive for his development.
Smith is looking like a definite upgrade in the present and has the potential to bring even more to the table moving forward.