Aldon Smith’s impressive 2011 season continues to linger into the offseason.
The outside linebacker who totaled 14.0 sacks as a rookie and broke the San Francisco 49ers’ rookie sack record in the process is out to prove he’s a complete player this offseason.
Smith’s working on his pass coverage and ball skills during the team’s offseason program, all while looking to make himself an all-around threat. Smith’s progress was discussed in two recently released news articles. Not only is Smith listed on NFL.com’s list of top 10 players under the age of 25, but two of the best performances from year’s No. 7 overall pick earned additional recognition.
More on Smith’s impressive rookie campaign, the latest 49ers headlines and more after the jump.
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com lists Smith and 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman among his top 10 players under the age of 25. Jeremiah had this to say on Bowman: “Playing linebacker for the 49ers and finding a way to escape the shadow of Patrick Willis is not an easy task. Bowman was able to do just that with a monstrous sophomore season in San Francisco. He led the team with 143 tackles and also chipped in with two sacks. He is a prototype linebacker. He can run sideline to sideline, he’s an explosive tackler, he can cover and he can blitz. He checks every box on a coach’s LB wish list.”
Jeremiah added this about Smith: “Smith is the third pass rusher to make this list. He recorded 14 sacks during his rookie year despite not starting a single game. He has an outstanding feel for rushing the passer. He is sudden off the snap and he has a wide variety of hand moves to defeat offensive tackles. He needs to improve his play against the run, but he’s already established himself as one of the league’s elite pass-rushers.”
Khaled Elsayed of ProFootballFocus.com lists two of Smith’s performances as part of the top 10 performances by 3-4 outside linebackers last season. Elsayed noted Smith’s Week 15 and Week 13 performances against the Pittsburgh Steelers and St. Louis Rams as the fifth and second-best performances, respectively.
Eric Branch of The San Francisco Chronicle profiles 49ers sixth-round pick Jason Slowey and the improbable road the lineman took to the NFL. Branch: “Slowey entered Western Oregon as a project, even by Division II standards, and transformed himself into an NFL draft pick through endless hours in the weight room. As a 265-pound senior at North Medford High, Slowey could put up three reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Five years later, at Western Oregon’s pro day, the 6-foot-3, 305-pounder put up 38 reps, a total that would have ranked third among all prospects at the NFL combine.”
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says fifth-round pick Darius Fleming tore his ACL at 49ers rookie minicamp according to Fleming’s agent.
Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee describes a recent meeting he participated in with local 49ers writers who discussed ideas withe developers for the team’s soon-to-be-built 49ers museum. Barrows: “Reporters are just one of the groups being consulted. Similar focus group sessions will be set up with season-ticket holders as well as teachers and students. The 49ers want this to be a year-round facility that caters particularly to children, who theoretically will learn about everything from nutrition to physics to sustainable design.”
TWEET ABOUT IT
All-Pro kicker David Akers shares his opinion on a recent E:60 video profile on teammate Patrick Willis.
Tags: A.J. Jenkins, Aldon Smith, Darius Fleming, David Akers, Jason Slowey, Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Tarell Brown
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