"I really thought you felt him especially here in the last several games really turning it on, really playing fast," Nagy said of Smith. "He's always had that every play that he gets, every game that he plays, for the rest of his career, he's only going to get better and better in my opinion... it's just unfortunate that it ended like that."
The eighth overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft, Smith appeared in every game last season as a rookie and recorded a team-high 122 tackles. However, Smith's second NFL season got off to a slower-than-expected start and the Bears deactivated him in Week 4 for what the club termed "personal reasons."
Smith returned to Chicago's starting lineup the following week and played much better as of late as the Bears surged to three straight wins.
"You know we all have some games where we feel like we could play a little bit better, a little bit faster, and we all have our own challenges on and off the field," Nagy said. "He's not the only one. But I like the fact that you know with his challenges, his own personal challenges, he came out and I thought he had a good year this year, flew around.
"I mean you see it on tape he's really moving fast, flying around making tackles. He's violent, he's always had instincts, that's been his biggest strength and he's violent, he's a violent tackler. I know a lot of defensive coordinators that have come up to me and explained to me how bad they wished he was on their team and the future that he has ahead of him."
Nagy said he's unsure whether Smith, 22, will be ready for the beginning of the offseason program in April.
Kevin Pierre-Louis replaced Smith at linebacker for the remainder of the Cowboys game.