By Wanda Wiedman//@WandaW63
All the questions and panic are over. The Chicago Bears made it very clear last night that the rise of the Monsters of the Midway starts with inside linebacker Roquan Smith. As the eighth overall pick in the first round, Smith brings an incredible burst off the seam that reminds me of one of the great Bears linebackers Mike Singletary. A little undersized for a linebacker, but his quickness and speed make up for it. It’s a perfect fit for the Bears.
Smith is fluid and explosive in space which makes him perfect in the Jack position as an inside linebacker. He was praised by Georgia head coach Kirby Smart as being a “tremendous leader”, which is what Singletary became on the Bears defense. Under the veteran leadership of Akiem Hicks, he will gain the respect and pride of his fellow teammates.
But what stands out about Smith are his clear instincts on the field and football intelligence, Smith’s ability to focus on the ball with laser precision through zone reads. He has the ability to start and stop quickly when needed and can flip pursuit from one target to the next with ease. His favorite targets are running backs as he loves to blaze downhill to stop them. His hands will be full just with the running backs in the NFC North.
Smith is not easily fooled on the field and keeps his eye on where the ball is. And if you are a Bears fan, you can remember the look on Singletary’s face when he was focused. Eyes wide open, like quarters watching the ball and the player who has it. He can shed blocks on a drop of a dime and make you pay. That’s what the Bears defense needed and general manager Ryan Pace got it right. He gave defensive coordinator Vic Fangio his key piece missing in the defense. No more band-aids. Just a day one starter, ready to make a difference and complete the swagger the Bears needed on defense.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) April 27, 2018
The Monsters of the Midway have been hibernating way too long and it is time to rise from the ashes and be competitive by shifting the momentum in the NFC North. I just can’t help but be excited about this pick because a small undersized linebacker brought toughness and purpose to the Bears defense once and he helped the Bears defense.
Still need proof?
In 1983, the Bears had a 3-6 record, Mike Ditka had just been hired as the Bears head coach. Ditka wasn’t too sure about putting in an undersized linebacker such as Singletary. But he put his faith in DC Buddy Ryan and he went in. That 1984 season was the start of something beautiful. The Bears went on to finish the season with a 10-6 season, winning the division.
Enter 2018 with a new head coach in Matt Nagy, who will put his faith in Fangio and an undersized linebacker named Roquan Smith.
Chicago is ready to rock n’ roll with Smith!
Talk Chicago Bears with Wanda on Twitter @WandaW63