Originally posted by DirtyP:
Somehow this board is truly underestimating how much of a freak Aldon Smith is. He was 22 years old last year, didn't have an offseason of pro coaching and absolutely dominated opposing offensive lineman in his first truly healthy season of football since breaking his leg. 14 sacks without any playing time in weeks 1-3. Football Outsiders most efficient pass rusher in the entire NFL in 2011. 6-4 260 pounds of pure muscle with great quickness and plays just as well over the guard as he does outside. Excellent with his hands and turns speed into power with ease. These types of players do not come around often. I would be extremely disappointed if he did not reach 14 sacks next year.
I'm pretty sure we all hope he goes all out and keeps growing but those numbers are rarely achieved for a reason.
Aldon's reasons for why he can put up big numbers can also be used as reasons why he won't.
Simply put the 49ers defense is very talented. This means that Aldon won't get as many double teams but it also means there are a lot of guys he's fighting for sacks with.
No doubt with his talent and playing behind Justin Smith is a huge advantage - offenses HAVE to account for Justin but they could potentially start doubling both Smiths...in which case the other guys would dominate - Willis, Bowman, Ray Mac and Bowman. Who do you gameplan against?
I do hope Aldon continues to grow and becomes recognized as a premier if not THE premier OLB in the league.
There's potential here to have the top 3-4 DE, 3-4 OLB and the top 2(arguably) 3-4 ILB in the game.