Former Chicago Bears linebacker currently has the highest Pro Football Focus grade

Chicago Bears, Roquan Smith
Chicago Bears, Roquan Smith / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

Did you know that the Chicago Bears have not won a football game since trading Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens? Did you also know that despite how great Bears fans thought Roquan Smith was, Pro Football Focus (PFF) never gave him a good grade while donning the orange and blue? It turns out though, that after only a year and a half in Baltimore, Roquan Smith is finally getting the credit he deserves.

While here in Chicago, Smith became the face of the Bears' defense. What's crazy though is how he never made it to a Pro Bowl. His best achievement while in Chicago was two Second-Team All-Pro votes. He finally made the Pro Bowl last season and was voted First-Team All-Pro. Funny how things change when you are on a team that seems to win more often. It's irritating how Bears players are overlooked because of a losing record.

Roquan Smith should have seen higher PFF scores while with the Chicago Bears

Let's take a look at why Smith should have already been awarded certain achievements and higher grades while still playing in Chicago. In 2020, Roquan Smith racked up 139 combined tackles (98 solos). He had two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Smith also had four sacks and a whopping 18 tackles for loss. Want to know what his PFF grade was that season? It was 67.2.

Now let's look at his 2021 season. Roquan Smith finished with 163 combined tackles (95 solos). He had three less solos, but 27 more combined tackles than he had the year prior. Smith had three sacks that year, only one less than in 2020. He had 12 tackles for loss (6 less) and only one interception (one less). He also didn't have forced fumbles or fumble recoveries. I could see his grade going down slightly without the same number of takeaways, but he did have more tackles. Remember, in 2020 his grade was 67.2. Well, in 2021, with similar stats, he only received a grade of 47.8. Seriously?

Smith wanted a huge contract and Ryan Poles wouldn't come to the number he wanted. Poles traded Smith away to the Baltimore Ravens and his overall PFF grade shot up. He also received that big contract. He had similar tackle numbers as in 2021, one less tackle for loss, an extra 1.5 sacks, and three interceptions. His final grade was 70.6. Had he been in Baltimore the whole year, he probably would have received a grade in the 80s.

Fans are now upset all of a sudden that Roquan Smith was traded. Most of those same fans wanted him to be moved since the negoriations between Smith and Poles were fizzling out. I find that PFF purposely grades Bears players lower for the interaction. Now that Smith is in Baltimore, he's getting the real recognition. Now, he has the highest PFF grade among linebackers at 88.1.

What's interesting is that Roquan Smith does not have any takeaways this season. He is on pace for over 180 total tackles, 80 of those being solos. He's also on pace for 12 tackles for loss. Needless to say, his stats aren't screaming that different from when he was in Chicago and I know stats aren't everything, but to see grades of 64.2, 52.4, 67.2 and 47.8 while in Chicago turn into grades of 70.6 and 88.1 seems like more to me than just playing with in a different system with different talent.


Am I looking into this too much? Roquan Smith isn't the first player on the Chicago Bears to receive lower than deserved grades. It's the reason why I find Pro Football Focus grades to be meh. Give me all of their stats, but grades, no thanks.