Roquan Smith’s rookie season was a learning opportunity.
The eighth-overall pick out of Georgia had a late start to the learning after sitting out all of training camp, but it didn’t take long for him to get up to speed and carve out a role in the Bears defense.
A lot of his growth came off the field, in adjusting to life in the NFL.
“I worked hard and stayed focus on making me a better player - I have seen the distractions of comparison,” Smith wrote in his personal blog. “I have always remained true to my work standards and try not to get distracted by the commotions.”
One of those comparisons was to Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, who won Defensive Rookie of the Year over Smith and others.
“It was great hearing my name mentioned among some of the best rookies in the league,” Smith wrote. “Would have loved to win DROY but congrats to Leonard out in Indy who played his ass off. It definitely added fuel to my fire!”
He won’t have the same defensive coordinator or linebackers coach to continue his development, but a full offseason with the team should have him much more prepared for Week 1 of 2019 than he was at the start of last season.
Source: NBC Sports Chicago | Lorin Cox