I will be the first to admit that when the 49ers drafted Aldon Smith in the first round of the draft I developed an ulcer that had an ulcer. I called him "Inception Ulcer." It was cute.
But seriously, I was pretty pissed. It was such a reach, right? Especially with like 14 corners sitting right there. And one of them had an impossible name! (He was also the only one worth drafting).
Well, I will be the first person to loudly and publically admit that I was very, very wrong. So far, Smith has looked every part of a first round pick. This is no guarantee as to his future production. But so far, in about three or so days he has practiced at OLB, he looks like a stud.
Follow me after the jump for some brief review of his 6 tackle - 2.5 sack game against the Chargers.
We all knew that Smith would come in and bring some nice pass-rush abilities. And, well, let me surprise you: he has. Want proof? See the last preseason game. Besides the 2.5 sacks Aldon Smith had, he also had a couple of great instances of getting pressure on the QB. I thought one of these more impressive pressures actually resulted in a penalty on Smith's part. He got onto the outside shoulder of the lineman and rode him around until he could put a hand out and get all up in the QB's grill. Unfortunately, he quite literally got into his grill, or facemask, and drew a penalty.
While I am not a huge fan of unnecessary penalties (looking your way Anthony Davis!), I really like the aggressive nature of this play. In a lot of cases (hopefully), this loosey-goosey hand wagging will hit the ball and cause a fumble. Or, maybe he can latch onto the QB and pull him down for a sack...
...which is something he almost did! Yes, one of the other more impressive plays was Smith getting hand on the QB's front pads. He wasn't able to hold on, unfortunately, and the QB sprung for, like, a 200 yard run or something.
But what these two plays demonstrate is the raw athletic talent Smith has and, thus, his incredible potential. Yeah, he might be a little rough, but I think Aldon is really coming into his own - and this game is a great indicator of that.
There was another great play that really demonstrates what I mean about coming into his own, position-wise. From my (albeit high school) experience playing football, I understand that OLBs need to hold the edge - or more specifically, maintain what is called outside contain. It's different than how a DE plays it. DEs can be a little more aggressive. Well, on the first tackle Smith made, he had outside contain, the play jutted up inside, and Smith made some sort of lunging comic-book style tackle. It was awesome. My head exploded all over the screen. It was a gooey mess, but also awesome.
This is more important than a sack, right now. I think Smith will be a great QB rusher. What I want him to be is a great LB too. The Chargers game was a glorious step in the right direction.