Returning to the NFL after missing four seasons is a very hard task. What can the Dallas Cowboys and their fans expect from Aldon Smith this season?
Of course, a four-season absence from any professional sport is a very long time. After having a very promising career before being suspended indefinitely in 2015, what can we expect from Smith in the 2020 season?
You would think making the transition from college to the NFL would be difficult, right? Well, I’m sure Aldon Smith laughed at that because his stats show that not everyone has a hard time. In his first season with the San Francisco 49ers, he made the most of every snap.
In a season where he didn’t start one game, he had 14.0 sacks and 37 tackles. Add in two forced fumbles and four passes defended. Adjusting to the NFL was not an issue at all for the 2011 seventh overall pick.
The following season, Smith had 19.5 sacks, which helped him become a first-team All-Pro. The 66 tackles to his name may have been a good reason too.
While his ’13 and ’14 seasons were shortened, Smith played good in the games he played. Having 10.5 sacks and 49 tackles in 18 games is a drop from his superb first two seasons, but still productive.
His career to date was capped off with one season with the Oakland Raiders. Nine games only saw Smith rack up 3.5 sacks and 28 tackles. Not the best we’ve seen from him.
What makes him a great football player is his speed and his great tackling. While his strength isn’t what makes him stand out, it shouldn’t be underestimated.
Quick hands and quick feet are what allow Smith to get to the quarterback in two seconds. This makes it hard for the quarterback to scramble or get rid of the ball.
After being out of the league since midway through the 2015 season, there are a lot of questions as to what kind of shape he is in, and how we will adjust to NFL schemes and the speed of the game.
A position coach that has been working with Smith told NFL Network reporter Jane Slater that they are impressed with the shape he is in and his speed. While I’m sure any coach in that position would say something positive about the player, it is something that catches my eye.
If Smith has anything close to the speed he had when he was last in the NFL, more so when he was with the 49ers, then Cowboys fans have a lot to be excited about.
Having him as the third defensive end on the depth chart means he doesn’t need to get 10.0+ sacks. He can get that by all means, I would not be complaining. I can see him getting 5.0 sacks with around 25 tackles.
I expect defensive end Tyrone Crawford to be taking the starting snaps to start the season, but we can see that change as time goes on. There is a ton that can go right, and not that much that can go wrong for Aldon Smith this season.
How do you think Aldon Smith will play for the Dallas Cowboys? Will he be able to come back after such a lengthy absence? Let me know in the comments section below.