QB Cam Newton went through a serious sophomore slump, but he has still been atop many sleeper lists heading into the upcoming 2013 season. Many people are pegging this to be a bounce back season for Carolina, and they may be right, but I still believe it is finally time to ignore WR Steve Smith.
Smith has already turned 34 and the 13-year-pro is rapidly approaching the end of his career. He has played in at least 14 games in eight consecutive seasons and has been one of the most durable options at the position, but don’t forget that the wideout is still getting older.
Most speedy receivers have a very abrupt end to their career. It normally deals with hamstring and/ or quadricep injuries and this could be the year that Smith finally breaks down. Olympic sprinters don’t get faster as they age, so it is only a matter of time until Smith starts taking some serious steps backwards.
Last year, Smith hauled in a meager four total touchdowns, which tied him for 54th best in the NFL. However, the veteran also racked up 1,174 receiving yards and finished 12th in the league. He showed that he could still sprint downfield with the best of them, but for how much longer?
Smith will likely be drafted within the top-20 receivers this season, but don’t reach on the aging wideout based on name recognition. He is obviously on the downside of his career and it would be better to grab one of the dozen youngsters at the position.