Bears beefing up defense with Butkus winner Smith


The Chicago Bears ramp up their defense by drafting Georgia Bulldogs' linebacker Roquan Smith.

The Chicago Bears have focused on offense with nearly every move so far this offseason, ranging from the hiring of an offensive-minded head coach to three new pass-catchers for Mitchell Trubisky to throw to. All-America First Team for the Associated Press, Walter Camp, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News and Phil Steele, in addition to winning the Butkus Award.

The 6-1, 236-pound Smith is a little smaller than some teams may prefer which could force him to move to the weak-side in some schemes. "I'm beyond excited right now", Smith told reporters in Dallas. The Chicago Bears deciding to go with Roquan Smith is a mild surprise on the first day of the 2018 NFL Draft filled with shockers.

Roquan Smith wins with speed and instincts. If your National Football League team is fortunate to get Smith, here's the type of player you can expect to get on Day 1 when he reports for rookie minicamp.

There's a common line of thinking that inside linebackers don't hold the same inherent value as more premium positions on defense like cornerback and edge rusher. Floyd was taken at No. 9 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.

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Chicago has one second-round pick, two fourth-rounders and one each in the fifth, sixth and seventh.

An elite speedy and athletic inside linebacker prospect such as Smith would seem to fit that bill and could be a cornerstone of this new Colts defense in the middle for years to come for the Horseshoe. But the Bears let linebackers Pernell McPhee and Willie Young go.

Smith is looking forward to playing for Fangio, who in three seasons has helped transform a defense that ranked among the worst in franchise history.

Smith called Tucker a "great guy" who taught him "a lot of things". "I feel like me, I feel like me and Patrick Willis both have similar speed and whatnot and both have a high IQ of the game".