Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith compared to 2018 draft class linebackers
When we look back on it, the 2018 draft class that featured Roquan Smith may go down as one of the better groups of linebackers drafted in recent history. When you look at some of the best up and comers in the game, it starts with that draft class, and just now you are starting to see extensions come in for this group.
In 2018 Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds, Leighton Vander Esch, Rashaan Evans, Darius Leonard, Jerome Baker, and Fred Warner were all drafted.
2018 draft class Raw Stats
Overall, Leighton Vander Esch has only played 35 games, which is well below the other six. With the in mind, we are going to leave him out of the comparison. All of the others have much better numbers.
Below you can see the comparison. Based on Approximate Value, Pro Football Reference would rank them Darius Leonard, Fred Warner, Tremaine Edmunds, Roquan Smith, Rashaan Evans then Jerome Baker.
You can see their per-game totals below. Smith trails only Leonard in solo tackles but is right behind Edmunds in combined tackles as well. A bit of a surprise is that Smith ranks tied for last in QB hits. He ranks third in sacks which feels a bit low as well.
Still, he is first in tackles for loss, with five more than Darius Leonard. However, Leonard does force more turnovers. Beyond Evans, Smith forces the least.
More Advanced Stats Comparison
With the help from PFF, we are able to compare some of the better stats that add context to these situations.
Below you can see how they compare in pressures, missed tackles, stops, and yards after the catch per reception. Pressures can help added context and combines QB Hits, sacks, and more. Missed tackles can help keep tackles in context, as well as stops, which are the impact tackles, not the stat-stuffing tackles. Lastly, we know YAC per catch would help us define their roles in coverage.
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Again, in a bit of a surprise, Smith is in the middle or towards the low end of total pressures compared to his peers. However, most notably is the missed tackles. Evans misses fewer tackles but also has almost three fewer tackles made per game. That is a huge disparity and a great hit rate for Smith.
Edmunds has more combined tackles but nearly doubles his missed tackles. LVE has more missed tackles in nine fewer games played! However, Leonard shines above again with more tackles than Smith and fewer misses.
Smith does edge out Leonard in stops though. It is clear the more we dig into this that Smith is the only LB in the group that can contend with Leonard.
Knowing what we know now if we had to re-rank the 2018 linebacker draft class we would be looking at
1. Darius Leonard
2. Roquan Smith
3. Fred Warner
4. Tremaine Edmunds
5. Jerome Baker
6. Rashaan Evans
7. Leighton Vander Esch