Pro Football Focus is creating a weekly rankings of the NFL’s top rookies in their run for Rookie of the Year. And it’s clear at this point that Aldon Smith is a rising player given his dominating performance against the Detroit Lions. The 49ers linebacker now has 5.5 sacks in 6 games and he’s earning more playing time week after week.
PFF’s Khaled Elsayed writes, “I’ve been able to ignore Smith because he was a situational player. But when the Lions go to a near exclusive three receiver set, Smith picks up 63 snaps. What does he do with those? A couple of sacks (including a safety), a hit and three pressures. Would have looked even better if he hadn’t dropped an interception and given up two penalties.”
Imagine if he’s able to make those same plays in coverage that he does in the opposing team’s backfield. That would make him a monster alongside some of the NFL’s best linebackers like Patrick Willis. The 49ers are loaded and it’s clear they will be for some time to come.