The risk/reward potential for Aldon Smith was there before the 2011 NFL Draft as the former Missouri defensive star shot up draft boards around the NFL. For a while he was a certain first round choice and then suddenly he moved like lightning up into the Top 15 and then the Top 10. Finally the San Francisco 49ers made it official by taking him at No. 7 overall, an impact player's spot for a player that was mostly promise over production.
Well, the team's gamble has paid off in spades this season. Smith now has 13 sacks on the year and has turned into an elite level force for the 49ers among a linebacking corps that also has Patrick Willis. It's clear the 49ers are continuing to learn how to use Smith since he didn't have any sacks in his first three games but has 5.5 in the last three. He showcased his talents last night on national television with 2.5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Albert Breer says that he'd pick Smith over Denver's Von Miller at this point and if he continues to rack up the stats on a winning team like the Niners, he's likely to overtake Miller. It's clear that Smith is a future star in this league who should remain among the premiere pass rushing talents in the NFL and will become a feather in the front office cap for the Niners for years to come.