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Roquan Smith brings versatility, star power to Chicago Bears defense
Georgia’s historic first round of the 2018 NFL Draft was kicked off by Roquan Smith. The former Georgia linebacker was selected by the Chicago Bears with the No. 8 pick in NFL draft Thursday night in Dallas, one of three former Dawgs selected in the first round. Smith was the first SEC player taken off the board in the 2018 draft.
Bears fans already have a taste of what it’s like to have a Bulldogs player in their linebacker corps. Smith will join Leonard Floyd, who was taken ninth overall by Chicago three years ago, in the Windy City. Smith and Floyd figure to be two of the most important players on a Bears defense that was in the top-third of the league last season.
While I’m sure all you Georgia fans know how good Smith is and the qualities he’ll bring to the Chicago, I suspect there’s a significant number of Bears fans lurking around the UGA blogosphere today digging up whatever info they can on their new linebacker. So to our esteemed midwestern guests, greetings. Here’s what you can expect Smith bring to the Bears linebacker corps.
• Versatility — While many will note Smith’s size (6-foot-1, 236 pounds) as a weakness, he makes up for that in spades with speed, quickness and athleticism. He has superior coverage skills for a linebacker, but he’s also just as good at stopping the run as you’d expect. That versatility will allow him to be a three-down player, something that’s desperately needed among a group of oft-injured Bears linebackers.
• Fit — The Bears needed another inside linebacker to play beside Danny Trevathan, and Smith is the perfect player for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s scheme. Fangio needs a mobile, versatile inside linebacker who can be vocal and lead the defense. Think Patrick Willis or NaVorro Bowman, both of whom Fangio coached in San Francisco. In Fangio’s system — hell, in any system — Smith has the potential to be as good as or better than those guys.
• Star power — With Trevathan by his side, this figures to be the best pair of Chicago ILBs since Urlacher and Briggs roamed Soldier Field, which is good news for all football fans. The Bears just aren’t the Bears without a crew of standout linebackers. Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, Urlacher, Briggs. The list of legendary Chicago LBs goes on and on. That’s the type of player Smith has the potential to be. He can be the star of the defense, or maybe even the star of the entire team.
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Patriots pick a pair of Dawgs in first round
Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel were handed the NFL draft equivalent of a golden ticket.
Wynn was picked No. 23 overall by the New England Patriots, which then selected Michel with the 31st overall pick. They’ll join two other former Dawgs in New England, center David Andrews and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell.
The mere fact that Bill Belichick — perhaps the best talent evaluator in NFL history — was willing to spend his first-round picks on Wynn and Michel tells you all you need to know about their talent and potential. And the fact he’s dipped into the UGA well time-after-time the last few years speaks to the quality of players the program is producing. If history is any indicator, Wynn and Michel will probably win a Super Bowl in the next few years and go on to long, successful NFL careers. These Dawgs hit the jackpot Thursday night.
Wynn’s selection gave Georgia two first-round picks for the first time since 2013, when Jarvis Jones was picked by the Steelers and Alec Ogletree was picked by the Rams. It’s the first time the program has ever had three players selected in the first round of an NFL draft.
Our night in one photo.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 27, 2018
4-star tackle commits to Georgia
Here’s a prime example of why the commitment list is never really the commitment list.
Fans learned Thursday that 4-star Lithonia, Ga., tackle Broderick Jones had committed to Georgia as part of the recruiting Class of 2020, but this was far from news for Kirby Smart or his staff. According to Jones’ coach, the No. 6 tackle prospect committed to Smart back in March.
Check out this post from Jeff Sentell of DawgNation for the skinny on UGA’s newest commit.
Dawgs on Twitter
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 27, 2018
That's it for the NFL draft tonight. More UGA players available tomorrow for Bill Belichick to make Patriots. pic.twitter.com/2CqdjmOuHb
— Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) April 27, 2018
(📸: Eric Espino/NFL) pic.twitter.com/PRDi3by2Zf
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 27, 2018
Big job for a little dude.
Shepherd pup first day on the job.🐶😣 pic.twitter.com/wf0KDbpNvW
— Rosa (@RDianelove) April 25, 2018
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