The end of the season NFL awards are going to start flying in now that the regular season is over, and we’ve got the latest from ESPN to share with you guys today.
Bears’ first round daft pick, Roquan Smith, made it at linebacker along side their defensive rookie of the year, Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts, and the Dallas Cowboys’ Leighton Vander Esch. Here’s what they said about Roquan.
It says plenty about Smith that he played alongside a high-quality player such as Danny Trevathan on the inside of the Bears’ defense and there were times when Smith was the best inside linebacker on the field. Smith missed 29 days of training camp in a contract squabble, but he made up ground quickly and was the starter by Week 2. He finished with 121 tackles, five sacks and eight tackles for loss.
At the end of the season press conference, Ryan Pace talked about how much better the 21-year old Smith will be next year now that he’s accustomed to the NFL game. The sky is the limit for Smith.
Chicago’s second round pick, James Daniels, made ESPN’s team as well, with them calling the 21-year old’s play at guard, “top-notch.” The other guard that made the team was Quenton Nelson of the Colts.
Bilal Nichols, the Bears’ fifth rounder from Delaware, was the third Pace draft pick to make ESPN’s All-Rookie Team.
Nichols did plenty of the unglamorous but necessary work for a unit that finished No. 1 in scoring defense and No. 1 in takeaways (three sacks, two forced fumbles, five tackles for loss).
Nichols (22-years old) started six of the Bears last nine games and he played with quickness and power.