Bears

Roquan Smith named to NFL.com All-Pro Team

Bears

One of the biggest Pro Bowl snubs this season was Bears’ linebacker Roquan Smith getting left off the roster. It left most of his teammates incredulous, considering they had a front row seat to his incredible season. But on Wednesday, Smith earned some recognition that’s a small step towards righting the wrong. NFL.com listed Smith as one of their All-Pro linebackers.

“I snubbed Smith from the Pro Bowl snubs list, but I won't make that same mistake twice (so stay out of my mentions, Bears fans),” wrote Nick Shook in his explanation for why Smith made the roster. “Smith is tied for second among all linebackers in run stuffs with 19, and he's tallied an incredible 88 stops on 963 total defensive snaps. Add in six quarterback pressures, four hurries and three sacks, and you have a three-down linebacker living up to his status as a first-round pick out of Georgia. Oh, and we can't forget his one interception, three passes defensed and 163 total tackles, the fifth-most in the NFL. The Bears struggled in 2021, but they had a few defenders put together fantastic seasons. Smith is certainly one of them.”

Adding to Shook’s case, Smith returned that one interception for a touchdown. Further, he set a new career high with 163 tackles. That mark bests Brian Urlacher’s high water mark (153), and Lance Briggs’ (134), too (tackles weren’t tracked until 1994, so we can’t compare to other greats like Mike Singletary or Dick Butkus). And before you say, ‘Well, Smith had an extra game to top Urlacher and Briggs!’ Smith had 157 after 16 games, so he would’ve had more tackles than either guy accumulated in a season anyways.

 

Outside the numbers, Smith displayed incredible sideline-to-sideline speed. He routinely came flying out of nowhere to stop a running back gunning for a first down. But no stop was more impressive, or more deserving of Pro Bowl attention than his tackle on Kyler Murray in the open field.

That play shows up in the box score as just a regular ol' tackle, but it's clearly much more than that.

We’ll see if this NFL.com recognition portends some more accolades, like Smith’s first legit All-Pro honors later this year.

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