SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 04: Aldon Smith celebrates after sacking quarterback A.J. Feeley #4 of the St Louis Rams at Candlestick Park on December 4, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won the game 26-0. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
The 49ers 2011 first round choice has proven to be a valuable commodity under the red and gold banner. Former Missouri Tiger, Aldon Smith has become one of the league's more fierce and effective pass rushers in only his first year. Smith is the sack leader for the league's number one ranked defense with 9.5; 4th best for linebackers in the NFL.
Against the visiting St. Louis Rams on Sunday, Smith had another big game for himself. He totaled 3 tackles, which included 2 sacks and a fumble recovery. Even when he's not recording statistics, Smith is presence whenever he is on the field. At 6'4 258-pounds, he has been a force in the situational downs in which he is utilized. He always seems to be in the oppositions backfield, getting hits on the quarterback or forcing him out of the pocket.
And in today's NFL where flags are being thrown left and right for roughing or excessive celebration, Smith has been the consummate professional. A lot of the times, rookies fall victim to their maturity level in the league and even after they've been in the league for some time, it still can be a problem. Players like Ndamukong Suh and DeSean Jackson are players with great talent who are, at the moment, incapable of living up to it because of their lack of maturity.
The 49ers' Smith is what a rookie looks like who is both talented and mature. See Aldon Smith's sack and ironic celebration after the jump.
How to celebrate after a sack on 3rd down (via giveittome15)
We see here Smith brings the quarterback down and immediately jogs to the sideline to take a seat, knowing he has done his job. It was really quite genius; his celebration after the sack was actually an anti-celebration campaign. This is also showing what kind of player Smith is. It is becoming clear that he is a player who lets his performance do the talking. And what performances they have been in 2011.
In 6 games this year, Smith has brought down the opposing quarterback; in 4 of those contests, he had more than 1 sack. Smith inspires hope for the future as the youngest 49er on the roster and on an up-and-coming defensive unit that has been simply dominant this season.
I look forward to seeing the finish product of Aldon Smith in two to four years.
Follow me on Twitter: @DeSimone80
Side Note: The 49ers rookie record for sacks is (12) set by Charles Haley in 1986 -- Smith needs 3 to break the record in the next four games.