The Baltimore Ravens trade for Roquan Smith has looked like a win when you factor in the difference he has made in the team's defense. While they now have to pay him a franchise-level contract, they also know that the best days are still ahead for him.
Baltimore Ravens LB Roquan Smith is on this exclusive historical list
Roquan Smith is still just 25, which is pretty impressive for someone coming out of his fifth NFL season. He also has 693 combined tackles, per pro football reference. Below is a list of the only players with more than 580 tackles before they turned 26 years old.
The only reason Luke Kuechly and Patrick Willis would not make the Hall of Fame is because they both retired from the game early. In the case of Lewis and Seau, you have Hall of Famers and some of the best to do it. It is something that Smith can even be in the conversation with these names.
What is even more impressive is when you look at the sacks and tackles for losses. Roquan Smith is not just stuffing the stat sheet to look like he is with these names, he is making real impact plays. Seau was playing before they tracked tackles for the loss, but none of the others were making plays behind the line like Smith. Beyond that, Smith is right there as the top sack-getter as well.
It is shown by the Approximate Value that even while he is better than these guys on the stat sheet, his first five seasons were not quite on the same level in terms of value. A lot of that has to do with national respect, as these players were nominated for greater awards this early. Also, their teams had more team success.
However, Roquan Smith had a 17 AV in 2023, the best of his career. It also was 13 in the nine games with the Ravens compared to just four with the Chicago Bears. It shows that now that Roquan Smith is on the Baltimore Ravens and his team is winning, the value is now being shown.
If Roquan Smith can stay at this rate, he will continue to be in conversation with the others for the rest of his career. If the Baltimore Ravens just traded for a Hall of Famer it is probably going to be looked back on pretty well.