Chicago Bears Where are They Now: Ryan Pace’s first-round draft picks

Chicago Bears (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /
5 of 5
Chicago Bears, Roquan Smith
Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Roquan Smith is the only home run for Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears

At least Ryan Pace seems to have gotten one of his first-round picks correct. In fact, Roquan Smith is the only first-round pick left on the roster (outside of Justin Fields of course). Smith is developing into a young star of the NFL and finds himself on plenty of dedicated rankings and lists this offseason. He was snubbed from the Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro lists in 2020, but that does not discount his performance and importance to the Bears defense.

Things did not always look so bright for the 2018 first-round pick though. He was somewhat of a holdout his rookie year, which some say kept him from starting to begin the season. It did not take long for Smith to prove his worth though. In the opening loss to the Packers, Smith only saw 13% of the defensive snaps, yet he finished with three tackles and a sack in that game. He found himself starting the very next week and didn’t relinquish it all season.

2019 was supposed to be Roquan Smith’s big breakout season. Things did not go as planned though as Smith missed a game versus the Vikings due to personal reasons. He returned and struggled to find his groove for a few weeks. Then, when things started to look up again, Smith was placed on injured reserve due to a pectoral injury after the Week 13 victory over the Cowboys.

2020 ended up becoming his breakout campaign instead. Smith finished with 139 tackles (98 solos), 18 tackles-for-loss, four sacks, seven pass deflections, two interceptions and a forced fumble. He was easily one of the best inside linebackers in the league last year. The best part is he is only 24 years old. The Bears have exercised Smith’s fifth-year option as expected as well. He looks to be a big part of this team’s future and one of the better defensive players in the league.

Trending. Options to replace Allen Robinson in 2022. light

Ryan Pace traded the Chicago Bears 2019 and 2020 first-round picks for Khalil Mack. He too is a big part of the defense. Despite not filling up the stat sheet the last two years, Mack has still been one of the best EDGE rushers in the game. Now, Justin Fields is added to this list and only two of Pace’s five first-round picks still remain on the team. Good thing for Pace, general managers are not solely evaluated based on first-round picks. It’s Pace’s mid-round picks that have thrived.