With the No. 8 pick, the Bears take Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith.
Here's our scouting report on Smith: Rangy heat-seeker can get skinny and slip through crevices and land big hits. Smith moves well laterally and takes efficient angles to the ball. Shows a nice closing burst when blitzing.
Here is a closer look at Smith, via STATS Inc.:
Overview: A basketball player and wide receiver growing up, Smith packed on muscle to become a four-star linebacker recruit, staying in his home state of Georgia after initially committing to UCLA.
After 12 appearances as a reserve as a true freshman, he started 25 games over his final two seasons, racking up 232 tackles (19.0 for loss), 6.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and three passes defensed, winning the Butkus Award in 2017.
He ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash (4.51 seconds) among linebackers at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Analysis: Smith has almost everything you want in a modern day linebacker. He’s a smooth and explosive athlete with quickness and straight-line speed feeding tremendous range in the run game and the ability to move in coverage like a safety. He shows excellent instincts and discipline, sniffing out misdirection and play-fakes early. He also has excellent intangibles, as coaches laud his leadership and work ethic.
Smith’s most obvious flaw is his lack of size (6-0 7/8, 236 pounds) and length (32-inch arms), and he likely doesn’t have room for much more weight. Though he often compensates by slipping blocks effectively, bigger blockers can bully him. He also didn’t make many plays on the ball in coverage despite generally proving reliable in that area.
If Smith were a tad longer or bigger with the same movement traits, he’d be one of the best linebacker prospects in years. As it is, he’s a top-10 caliber player with both a high floor and a high ceiling as a "Mike" or "Will" ’backer at the next level.