Terell Smith bringing physicality, maturity to Bears
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

Terell Smith bringing physicality, maturity to Bears


by - Correspondent -

With the No. 165 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected cornerback Terell Smith out of the University of Minnesota. Smith was the second cornerback that the Bears drafted; they would go on to draft another with their last pick in the draft at No. 258 overall. In addition, he is part of the seven defensive players they drafted this year. Smith brings a lot to the table, including his physicality and maturity.

“I’m just ready to go out there and just show the whole coaching staff what I can do and just go out there and compete out there and have the opportunity to compete,” Smith said. “I’ll say as a player, I bring physicality. I’m a physical corner, I’m going to set the tone, do my job, and I’m going to be disciplined. And as a player, off the field, I’m just a mature young man, very disciplined on and off the field, so it’s just getting a high-character guy.”

Smith played five seasons for the Golden Gophers but suffered an injury at the end of the season that cost him some time. This was the first football adversity Smith ever faced, and while it was difficult at first, he was able to overcome it and come back stronger in 2022.

“When I got hurt in 2021 and just being able to overcome that and come back and had the season that I had this past year, it just shows that, like, I’m just willing to break through any barrier and get the job done,” Smith said. “I feel like it was difficult at first because that was my first ever big injury that I had to work through. But, I was able to come out on the other side better.”

Like another one of the Bears’ draftees, wide receiver Tyler Scott, Smith also has a background in track that has helped him develop his speed, including being the 100-meter champion in high school.

He also posted a noteworthy 40-yard dash time at 4.41 seconds, one of the fastest times for a corner at the NFL Combine in 2023.

“Track definitely helped me with my initial bursts and breakpoints,” Smith said. “I feel like coming out of breaks, I’m able to explode from point A to point B.”

In addition to his value at cornerback, Smith also has experience playing special teams. In fact, it is something that the coaching staff at Minnesota put a lot of emphasis on because of how important special teams is in deciding games.

“(Special teams coordinator) Coach (Rob) Wenger does a really good job of just showing us all the fine details and I feel like, at Minnesota we always talk about how special teams wins you a game or loses you a game, so it’s an important part of the game,” Smith said. “So, that’s how I approach it and it’s just like a defensive rep. It’s just as important.”

His versatility is not just limited to his ability to play special teams. Within the cornerback position, he has experience playing in both man and zone coverage. Thus in the NFL, that is also something that he is comfortable doing.

“I feel very comfortable. We did a lot of quarters at Minnesota, just off quarters,” Smith said. “So, I feel very comfortable in off man and when it comes to Tampa Two, we were in a lot of two, especially last year. So in those two areas of my game, I feel very comfortable.”

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