Inside Linebacker named "Non-QB MVP" of the Baltimore Ravens

Roquan Smith, Baltimore Ravens
Roquan Smith, Baltimore Ravens / G Fiume/GettyImages

You know you've made an impact on a football franchise when you only spent a few weeks playing for it but you're already considered the best performer on the whole defensive side of the game for them. Ask Ravens inside linebacker Roquan Smith.

Smith, who was traded by the Chicago Bears to the Baltimore Ravens last midseason as part of a deadline-day deal in exchange for a second-round pick and A.J. Klein, was huge for the team through the second half of last season.

The inside linebacker instantly took on the leader role of the Ravens' defense, completed a full 17-game campaign split between Chicago and Baltimore, and finished the year with an uncannily near-even split of 83 tackles as a member of the Bears and 86 while donning Ravens' threads.

Writing a blurb for an article published in The Athletic in which beat reporters had to pick a non-QB player as the MVP of their franchise, Jeff Zrebiec chose Roquan Smith.

"Smith transformed the Ravens defense after he was acquired from the Bears just before last year’s trade deadline. With Smith in the middle, the Ravens defense allowed 14 points or fewer in six of its final nine regular-season games. Both the run and pass defense were impacted. Smith fit with the Ravens so well and he should be even more comfortable in his second season. It would be easy to pick an offensive player here, but Smith is a game-changer for the Ravens."

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

As Zrebiec wrote, Smith was a full-impact type of player for Baltimore through the second half of the year.

He was a role model for other players such as Patrick Queen, took rookie Kyle Hamilton under his wing, and with Smith on the field "the Ravens defense allowed 14 points or fewer in six of its final nine regular-season games."

Although he didn't complete the 2022 season in Baltimore, appearing eight times in Chicago's defensive corps, Smith posted a career-high 169 tackles last year on his way to getting named to both the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro First Team.

Smith broke the 100-solo-tackle barrier racking up 103 while assisting 66 more. He got to rival quarterbacks four times, and he also put up 11 tackles for a loss.

Since entering the league ahead of the 2018 season, Roquan Smith is one of only six players in the NFL to have reached 100+ tackles in all last five seasons without failing at it. Talk about a supremely gifted player.

Now with the Ravens from the start of the mini-camp a few weeks ago and about to participate in the summer training camp while he gears up for his first full-time season in Baltimore, the expectations are high but the talent is even higher when it comes to Roquan Smith.

We can't wait to watch Smith thrive for 17 games while clad in Baltimore's purple and white.

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