1. Sutton Smith, Defensive End
The Chicago Bears had an elite team in general in 2018, but it was in large part to having one of, if not the best defense in the entire National Football League. Is it possible to get even better? Of course! There is always room for improvement.
Northern Illinois University had a pretty good defense in 2018 and they were led by defensive end Sutton Smith. Smith had quite a collegiate career. During his tenure with NIU, he had 30 sacks, 140 total tackles, six forced fumbles, and four pass deflections. He was a difference-maker every time he stepped foot on the field. This was especially true in a rather offensive-orientated Mid-American Conference.
More from Da Windy City
- 3 takeaways from Chicago Blackhawks shootout loss to Nashville
- Chicago Cubs in the middle of chaos that is Shohei Ohtani’s free agency
- The Chicago Cubs are on a roller coaster of emotions chasing Shohei Ohtani
- Chicago Bears quietly compiling list of head coaching candidates
- Chicago White Sox News: Erick Fedde signs two-year deal
In 2017, he led the nation in some rather major categories. His 29.5 tackles for loss and 73 quarterback pressures were the nation-leading stats. Of course, it is a group-of-five conference he plays in, so the competition isn’t quite as fierce as say the SEC or Big Ten. That should not matter as much with big numbers like that however.
Sutton Smith could easily come to the Bears and make an impact. On that elite defense that gets good pressure on opposing quarterbacks as it is, Smith would be a nice complimentary piece. He would join guys like Mack and Akiem Hicks as pass rushers on the defense.
The issue the Bears could come across with hopes of drafting Smith is the fact that he very well could go in the first two rounds. That would be a bit of a surprise but it is certainly not impossible. The Bears do not have their first or second round picks, so they would either have to trade up to get him or they would have to just hope that he falls to their third round selection. Both of those things could be possible.
We can hope since Smith played for a local school that the Bears have an extra leg up on him and know how good he could be in their system. He had a major hand in the NIU Huskies winning the MAC title game last November. In that championship game, Smith had 10 tackles and two sacks as NIU overcame a 19-point deficit in the game.
Look for Smith to make an impact at the NFL level, and hopefully, the Bears are the ones who could reap the benefit of him being slept on in the early rounds.