Smith, whom the Bears took with the eighth overall pick in the draft, described himself as a “relentless” player, and touted his abilities during his first availability with Chicago media.
“I feel like the Bears organization is getting a relentless player, and a tremendous leader on and off the field,” he said. “I’m extremely rangy and I can get from side to side on the field, and I can make an impact with my striking ability.”
That striking ability led some draft experts to label him the best tackler in this year’s class, and his stats at Georgia bear that out, as he racked up 137 total tackles and six and a half sacks during his final college season.
While Smith was quick to credit the excellent competition he regularly faced in the SEC, he also gave plaudits to his own teammates for helping to mold him into a great player thanks to their intense practices in Athens.
“Going up against Georgia in practice every day helped me as well,” he said. “Playing against teams like that was great. It was the best conference in football. Those guys will prepare you for the NFL for sure.”
The Bears haven’t definitively said whether Smith will be a starter the moment he steps onto the field at Halas Hall, but the linebacker has high expectations for himself and doesn’t feel that the pressure will get to him.
“There’s no pressure to that,” he said. “I know my skillset. I just want to be the best possible teammate I can be. I’m just here for that.”
Smith will put on pads for the first time May 11 when the Bears begin their rookie minicamp at Halas Hall.