Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith proving to be an All-Pro
By Joseph Herff
Roquan Smith is having an All-Pro season for the Chicago Bears
Since being drafted in 2018, Chicago Bears‘ fans have been waiting for Roquan Smith to come to his true form. As a rookie, Smith racked up the tackles tallying 121 total tackles in essentially only 15 games as he hardly played early in the season. Besides that though, Smith has struggled to impress in pass defense and even at reading the backfield.
This season though, Smith has been much different than the previous two seasons. While still making plenty of tackles, Smith leads the NFL in tackles with 70 solo tackles through just nine weeks. He is on pace for 124 solo tackles at the moment. He also has an absurd 15 tackles for a loss which also leads the NFL and two sacks. The last player to have over 120 solo tackles in a season was Paul Posluszny (122) and NaVorro Bowman (120) in 2013.
In terms of pass defense, each year his completion percentage when targeted has gone down. As a rookie, Smith allowed a 73.2% completion. Last year he allowed 67.2% completion. This year, his completion percentage has gone all the way down to 60.3%. This has gone hand-in-hand with virtually every pass defense stat as all of these stats have gone down each year:
- Yards per Target
- 2018: 7.2
- 2019: 6.0
- 2020: 3.0
- Passer Rating when Targeted
- 2018: 95.9
- 2019: 75.9
- 2020: 65.0
The Chicago Bears could have another great linebacker if Roquan Smith keeps transcending
He has really stepped up in the inside linebacker corps since Danny Trevathan has seemed to lose to a step. Trevathan is still very solid, but Smith has looked to take the step on Trevathan now as the better inside linebacker on this team.
The only issue with Smith’s game at the moment is that he sometimes plays too fast. He rushes a tackle and becomes sloppy. His fast and physical nature can sometimes be a double-edged sword in that sense as he can miss tackles. He needs to improve that to be able to be the best in the NFL. But at the moment, it is still good enough to keep him in the All-Pro conversation.
The plus side to all of this is that we are finally starting to see the high ceiling Smith has for the Bears. In only his third year in the league, he has just scratched the surface of his potential to be one of the best all-around inside linebackers in the NFL. The things he is doing not only with his tackling but also with his pass defense has been crucial to this Bears’ defense.