Former Missouri star Aldon Smith has quickly established himself as one of the best young pass rushers in the NFL already in his first season by coming within half a sack of the NFL rookie record of 14.5. For those expecting Smith to hit a rookie wall with so many games played, the 49ers outside linebacker is apparently not tired yet. Smith had another sack and three tackles in yesterday’s 36-32 win over the New Orleans Saints and will now move on to the conference championship game against the Green Bay Packers or New York Giants.
Smith had 14 sacks in the regular season to come close to breaking Jevon Kearse’s rookie record, and it’s clear the seventh overall draft choice from last April’s NFL Draft is going to become the team’s next great defensive star. He still must work on defending the run since he’s not even a starter for his own team. Yet head coach Jim Harbaugh has figured out how to use his weapons well and apparently it’s working. Both the Packers and Giants have some o-line issues, so expect Smith to continue to make an impact as long as the 49ers are in the playoffs.