Chiefs vs. Bears: Roquan Smith expected to make preseason debut for Chicago
By Matt Conner
Chicago Bears rookie linebacker Roquan Smith is expected to make his debut for the team against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chicago Bears made a significant investment in the heart of their defense when they selected heralded linebacker Roquan Smith early in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Fans and coaches will finally get a good look at their choice when Smith finally suits up against the Kansas City Chiefs in the team’s next preseason game.
Smith has been missing from training camp much, much longer than most rookies (read: all of them) due to a contractual impasse wherein the Bears reportedly wanted to work out ways to slightly screw Smith over with contractual language that would protect a franchise worth billions over the actual player (read a good explanation here). In short, it’s the Bears’ fault if the Bears haven’t seen Smith up until now.
Fortunately for the team, Smith is one of the most NFL-ready prospects in this year’s drafts per analyst and should be able to let his instincts take over in the middle against the Chiefs offense, who will be looking to hit the accelerator on the offense as they prepare for the regular season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers with this final preseason tune-up (for the first team at least). The final preseason game is all about sifting through the bottom of the roster to make the best decisions on fringe players, which means this week is key for the Chiefs offense.
Smith had 137 tackles alone with 14 of them for a loss last year at Georgia. He had 6.5 sacks as a junior, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 passes defended. He was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 and won the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker. He should instantly toughen up a Bears defense that has been soft in the middle in recent years.