Is Alex Smith an Elite Quarterback?

By Devin O'Barr
Matt Kartozian/ US PRESSWIRE

When the term “San Francisco 49ers Quarterback” is mentioned, images of NFL greats Joe Montana and Steve Young are the first things to pop up. However, current QB Alex Smith is on his way to cementing his legacy with the 49ers. After Mondays impressive victory over the Arizona Cardinals, Smith now leads the league in completion percentage at 69.4. Smith is not as flashy as some NFL quarterbacks and has struggled with the stigma of being the first overall pick back in 2005. However, Smith has all the tools to be an elite quarterback in the NFL and is primed to reach his second straight NFC Championship game.

With that being said, Smith is a different kind of quarterback than a Drew Brees or Peyton Manning. Smith has been asked to “manage the game” rather than throw more than thirty times a game like other QB’s. On the other hand, Smith has been nearly perfect this season in his managerial role. Over time, Smith has become comfortable and it shows with his league leading TD/INT ratio of 1.1 last season.

Now, my definition of being an elite quarterback is being one of the top eight quarterbacks in the NFL. Yes, it is a total rip-off of the Elite Eight, I know.
Even still, their are eight NFL quarterbacks I would rather have on my team than Alex Smith. 4th in the league in QB rating, 5th in Passing Yards per Passing Attempt and 10th in touchdowns Smith is excelling. Also, Smith is 27th in Passing Attempts, 22nd in Passing Yards and has taken the 5th most sacks thus far.

If the 49ers are to be Super Bowl contenders this season, Smith will have to keep doing what he’s doing. The control he commands within an NFL game will do the 49ers well. However, due to the 49ers style of play Alex Smith is not an elite quarterback here in 2012.

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