Chicago Bears: Grading 2018 rookie class after Year 1

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Roquan Smith, Chicago Bears
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

1. LB Roquan Smith, Georgia, Round 1, eighth overall

Going into the 2018 offseason, the Bears defensive core seemed to be complete but the team still needed a speedy linebacker that could run from sideline-to-sideline and chase down ball carriers.

Despite holding out most of training camp due to contractual disputes with the Bears, Smith returned to the Bears in time for Week 1. Immediately, he made his impact felt as on the first play of the game he sacked Packers quarterback DeShone Kizer.

As the season would go on, Smith would be a regular starter for the Bears. He finished the 2018 season with 121 tackles, eight tackles, five sacks, five quarterbacks hits, and one interception.

What makes Smith so dangerous is that he is someone who has barely scratched the surface of what he can really be.

As Smith gets ready for the 2019 season, there is one thing that he will need to do in order to ensure that he ends up breaking out in 2019.

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First, he will need to add some more muscle to his frame. This is important as he needs to figure out ways to get around bigger offensive linemen. Usually, due to his speed, he is able to slip past bigger players, but after having a full season of tape on him, teams will figure out ways to shut him down if he does not get stronger.

Without a doubt, it was clear that Smith was the Bears best rookie this year. He made multiple nice plays, improved as the season progressed, and will look to breakout in 2019 and become one of the NFL’s top linebackers in 2019.

Grade: A+