49ers' Aldon Smith is a star in the making
While most of the attention during the preseason has been on 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and his relationship with new coach Jim Harbaugh, gone almost unnoticed is a rookie on the defensive side who could become a bona fide NFL star.
Aldon Smith, the No. 7 pick in the draft who starred at defensive end at Missouri, manhandled San Diego's offensive line in Thursday's 20-17 victory.
Sure, Smith played mostly against the Chargers' second string, but a 21-year-old rookie linebacker isn't supposed to make it look so easy. He had 2 1/2 sacks, seven tackles, four quarterback hits and two tackles for losses, but it wasn't just his statistics.
Watch him play, and you'll see a superstar in the making. Once he learns his new position and gets some experience, he could become not only a top-notch linebacker but also one of the more entertaining ones in the league.
Said Harbaugh after the game: "Saw him playing with some passion there, with some emotion. The light's coming on more and more, and (he's) making really good progress."
And that's one thing that has been lacking for the 49ers on defense in recent seasons passion.
But Smith is a rookie who also is being asked to drop back into pass coverage, something he didn't do much in college.
If defensive coordinator Vic Fangio can live with some rookie mistakes and take advantage of his speed, size and strength as a pass rusher, Smith could be a difference maker for the 49ers this season.
What to watch
Baseball, Giants vs. Arizona, 1:05 p.m., CSNBA: It would be a great time for scheduled starter Ryan Vogelsong to end his three-game losing streak.
What to do
Baseball, Seattle at A's, 1:05 p.m., O.co Coliseum: The teams are going nowhere, but it should be a great day for a game.
Who should win the National League Cy Young Award?
Vote above or leave your comments in the comments field; Or, go to www.sacbee.com/sports
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