CHICAGO – The Bears have a lot of questions surrounding their current roster, but it doesn’t mean the team is completely devoid of talent.

Or good players, for that matter.

The franchise is still waiting for Justin Fields to become the guy. The good news is the Bears already have their guy on the other side of the ball.

Roquan Smith has been everything the Bears thought he would be when they took him with the eighth overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. He can do it all: blitz, cover, play run defense, lead. You name it, Smith can do it.

So it’s not much of a surprise to see him make CBS Sports‘ top-25 list of players 25 and under.

Cody Benjamin recently wrote the column. He placed Smith at No. 13 and wrote the following:

“Maybe it’s the Bears’ recent struggles that have hidden his elite impact at the heart of Chicago’s “D,” but Smith deserves even more recognition than a pair of All-Pro nods. He’s always been a heat-seeking tackling machine, but the last two years, he’s emerged even more as a presence in opposing backfields, totaling 30 tackles for loss since 2020.”

Smith is ahead of some really good players

Benjamin meant what he wrote about Smith.

Sure, Smith didn’t finish in the top-10, but when considering the players he finished ahead of and the ones that finished ahead of him, it becomes easy to see why 13th isn’t a bad place to be.

Benjamin place the fifth-year linebacker ahead of guys like Minkah Fitzpatrick, Fred Warner, and Micah Parsons. What do all three of those players have in common? They’ve all earned at least one first-team All-Pro nod during their respective careers.

He’s also ahead of the last two Defensive Rookie of the Year winners in Parsons and Chase Young.

The following players are the ones who finished ahead of Smith (in order from Nos. 12-1):

  • Eagles WR A.J. Brown
  • Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf
  • Colts RB Jonathan Taylor
  • Packers CB Jaire Alexander
  • Cardinals QB Kyler Murray
  • Buccaneers RT Tristan Wirfs
  • Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase
  • Vikings WR Justin Jefferson
  • 49ers DE Nick Bosa
  • Bengals QB Joe Burrow
  • Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
  • Chargers QB Justin Herbert

As you can see, that’s a pretty damn good top-12. It would be really hard for Smith to break into that tier.

Smith is definitely one of the league’s best young stars. It’s good to see him get the respect he deserves.

You can check out Benjamin’s column, here.

Featured image via Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports