Rolling out the first of many of these posts - it's very simple. You will vote on what your level of confidence in a player is based on the criteria I set forth. I will define a ballpark value for Very High, High, Medium, Low and Very Low levels of confidence. Should provide for some good discussion.
So let's start off with QB Alex Smith. Smith fell short of everyone's expectations when we drafted him. The team needed a leader, they needed a guy to come in and carry this team. It didn't happen. He most definitely meet any of our expectations, which were probably a little bit unreasonable. But when he took that pay cut, one could say he was starting anew, with a whole different set of expectations. At that point nobody really knew if they expected him to eventually start or not, but that's what we're getting.
So last season, in 10 starts, Smith threw for 2,350 yards, 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He completed 225 of 372 passes, which comes out to a 60.5 percentage with a 81.5 quarterback rating. If you extrapolate those stats out, it puts him just around the top 12 quarterbacks in yardage and definitely up there in touchdowns and the like.
So what do we realistically expect from Smith this year? One big thing to keep in mind is that Smith has always been seen as a player who gets better with time in a system, much like many quarterbacks - and this is the first year he's had the same offensive coordinator as the previous year since he's entered the NFL. In training camp, Smith has been keeping command of the offense, making some very good throws, but also some bad ones. Still, the verdict in OTAs and minicamp was definitely something along the lines of Alex Smith most definitely looks vastly improved in the grand scheme of things compared to last year. Not to mention the boosted o-line and some good receiving threats. Also, he should by all means have a better return-game to set him up past the twenty yard line for once. After the jump I define your choices...
Very High: Alex Smith will be in the top six quarterbacks in the league in more than one category and look like the guy we wanted when we made him the first overall pick. Positive touchdown to interception ratio.
High: Smith will likely be the best quarterback of the division and be in the top 13 of quarterbacks in the league in at least one category, and awfully close in another. Positive touchdown to interception ratio. Looks mostly competent, runs the offense well but still has a few bad tendencies.
Medium: He can still be the best quarterback in the division as it's rather weak, but he will rank somewhere middle of the pack in the scheme of things. He can still have a positive TD to INT ratio but just barely. More on the 1:1 ratio side of things. Looks competent at times, has quite a few bad tendencies.
Low: Can still be the best in the division, or tied for best in the division, but more than likely is second or third best. Throws more interceptions than touchdowns. Makes several mistakes. Does not look competent out there. Very many bad tendencies.
Very Low: JaMarcus Russell.