Roquan Smith has developed into one of many foundational elements of the Chicago Bears protection. So it wasn’t a shock when the Bears exercised his fifth-year choice earlier this offseason. Particularly contemplating his spectacular 2020 marketing campaign.
Pro Football Focus ranked the 32 greatest inside linebackers within the NFL heading into 2021. And it definitely wasn’t a shock to search out Smith within the prime 10. Though, you would argue his rating at No. 8 is slightly low following a breakout 2020 season for the previous eighth total choose.
A protection star popping out of school, Roquan Smith took some time to point out that type of impression play on the NFL degree, however we noticed it lots in 2020. He earned an 84.0 PFF protection grade final season, permitting a mere 75.8 passer ranking into his protection — some 20 factors decrease than the common move and 30 factors decrease than the common move focusing on a linebacker.
Final season, Smith totaled a career-high 139 tackles, together with 98 solo tackles, 18 tackles for loss, six quarterback hits, 4 sacks, seven move defenses, two interceptions, one pressured fumble and one fumble restoration. On prime of that, Smith garnered a career-best grade from Professional Soccer Focus.
When looking forward to the 2021 season, it’s truthful to have excessive expectations for Smith — expectations that the previous eighth total choose ought to meet if he continues to play like one of many league’s greatest younger linebackers.