Matt Nagy says Roquan Smith isn’t going to be given a starting job because he was a top-10 pick in last month’s NFL Draft. And to his credit, Smith knows that.
I guess that’s why Smith offered up the idea of playing special teams if it meant he was going to get on the field.
“I’m not thinking about being just being a starter. They can start (me) on special teams if that’s what they wane me to do, I’ll do it,” Smith said while meeting the media at Halas Hall on Friday. “It’s not like I’m just saying, “Hey, I have to be the starter.” You crawl before you walk.”
Smith is about to embark on going from a big fish in a small pond as an All-American linebacker at the top of the college football world to the small fish in the big, bad world of professional football. With Smith joining a slew of rookies and veterans in town on a tryout basis this weekend, Nagy explained what was on the table for the players in camp.
“All these guys that come in here, you’ve got to be able to come in here and show what you can do. Just because you were the number eight pick in the draft it doesn’t mean you just walk into this thing,” Nagy said on Friday, when he touched on a a variety of topics. “You gotta earn it, and so we’ve made that clear to everybody on this team that competition is great.”
Smith is penciled in to be the team’s Week 1 starter at inside linebacker next to veteran Danny Trevathan, but the job isn’t his quite yet. Remember, that’s why they put erasers on pencils.
Nick Kwiatkoski has two years of pro ball under his belt that includes 13 starts. Kwiatkoski played at least 80 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in each of his last four games and was someone Pro Football Focus graded as an above average contributor last season. Kwiatkoski earned an 82.3 grade that ranked 17th among the 100 linebackers who played enough snaps to qualify for grading. So no matter which way it’s sliced, the Bears should at least have some quality depth at the position.