Aldon Smith had a down year last season compared to his two previous seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. Smith faced off-the field issues, which caused him to miss five games, but he was productive while he was on the field. Smith finished the season with 8.5 sacks, but when looking at the 2011 and ’12 seasons in which he had 14 and 19.5 sacks, it looks really bad.
Smith commanded more attention last year, and he of was often double-teamed. Getting 8.5 sacks in 11 games is pretty impressive, but is it enough to make the NFL‘s Top 100 players list? The players around the NFL respect Smith, but it may be tough for them to place him on the list.
Now that the list is in the middle of the pack, I can’t see Smith making the cut. He didn’t make the list as a rookie in 2011 in a season in which he had 14 sacks, but he made it last season as the No. 7 best player in the NFL. Everyone knows that Smith has a world of talent, but this may be the year when his peers will not recognize them. Some may think it’s not fair, but it is the right thing to do.
At times when behavior issues are present for someone, people tend to ignore it as long as said player produces on the field. Though Smith’s numbers were drastically down, it was his behavior that kept him off of the Top Players list. Making the list really doesn’t mean anything as far as accolades, but it gives the players a sense of belonging and is good for stroking their egos.
Smith is trying to better himself as a person, and this is just another example how off-the-field issues can put a damper on anything. I hope the best for Smith, and I feel that situations similar to ones like this will wake him up to be the total package as a player and person.