49ers predictions 2013: How many sacks will Aldon Smith grab this season?

Rob Carr

Time for some crowd-sourcing for 2013 49ers predictions. How about Aldon Smith's sack production?

Last week, I posted a call for projections related to Colin Kaepernick's 2013 season. We got some responses, but I'd love to get more, so if you get a minute, drop in there and provide your predictions on his attempts, completions, passing yards yards, touchdowns, interceptions, and rushing yards and touchdowns. It's pretty simple.

I thought we would move on to outside linebacker Aldon Smith for this next set of predictions, and we'll keep it very simple. How many sacks will Aldon Smith have in 2013? I bring it up now because Aldon spoke with NFL Network last Friday about his 2012 late season slump, and Michael Strahan's sack record:

"It's a goal, but I'm not punching myself in the face at the end of the season if I don't get it," Smith said. "I'm young, and I'm learning a lot and I'm getting better. My goal is really just to get better every year. As long as I do that, if it was 14, then 19.5, at that rate it should keep going. Hopefully, I should be able to trump that record and keep going."

Aldon was on fire midway through the season, running up a seven-game sack streak in which he accumulated 15 sacks (5.5 came against the Bears). After netting two sacks against the Dolphins, he was held without a sack the rest of the season.

His shoulder injury couple with Justin Smith's triceps injury were a big factor in his sack decline. Additionally, Aldon recognized that teams defended the 49ers front seven differently as the season wore on. That is one of the keys to his development. Just like Colin Kaepernick will have to counter opposing defenses countering him, Aldon Smith will need to make adjustments.

That being said, Aldon still showed he could get to the quarterback over the final two months of the season. He wasn't closing the deal, but he was still able to get pressure at times.

So, how many sacks will it be for Aldon Smith in 2013? Will he break Michael Strahan's single season record? I'll go ahead with a prediction of 18.5 sacks. I don't think it's so much that he struggles, but rather, the team gets a bit more consistent pass rush across the board. The 49ers added Tank Carradine and Corey Lemonier to provide some depth at defensive end and outside linebacker. I think their additions will result in potentially a greater spread of sacks across the roster.

Drop your prediction in the comments, and then make sure and go over to the Kap thread to provide your predictions for the 49ers QB.

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