Poised for a Breakout

The third year breakout anticipation has been a crossroads path for highly touted drafted NFL players. That path can change presumptions of a player heading towards being a bust or worthy of the high pick. More than franchises would like to happen the player turns out to be less qualified for their drafted position. In the good spots, players turn it around and earn that heavy contract. It is more apparent of a third year quarterback experiencing this growth. For San Francisco, the rookie season of Alex Smith could not have looked any dimmer. Last year he showed the signs, and now he is about to deliver. Third year quarterback Alex Smith and the 49ers squad may actually live up to the high aspirations of the 49ers taking over the NFC West.

Watching quarterbacks in preseason usually can not lead to much of any assessment, critical or non. They just do not play enough series to get a true understanding of where they are at. For the most part, teams number one quarterbacks do not need much attention, as preseason is about filling quality depth. Alex Smith though has came out and treated this 2007 preseason like a true leader. Focusing on performing and gaining his teams and coaches confidence before the season even starts. Any new players or old veterans that may not be sure what this team is capable of, is now.

If the quarterback challenge was still going on, it’d be interesting to see how sharp Smith would be. He has been hitting different targets all over the filled. Moving around in the pocket and showing quick awareness to anticipate defenders and check downs. A complete reversal of his first year abysmal numbers when he looked like a Bruce Gradkowski second day draft pick thrown in the fire to start. Obviously those early struggles the 49ers took paid off in perfect transition time to see a team ready to launch.

With Vick out, Favre on his way, and an NFC that has shakiness all over, the 49ers are a team that has built. Building forward is going to happen for them, and a realistic chance at being the team of the NFC is right around the corner for them.

If they’re going to get there, Smith needs to keep excelling and working hard on the field. He has fired up his team and even dared to throw on Champ Bailey’s side in the 49ers first preseason game. A quick slant purely accurate strike to new receiver Darrell Jackson. Timing was everything on that play that even Bailey couldn’t stop.

All that’s happening for Smith is nothing if he can’t move forward during his crossroads. He has to put together another progressing year. In doing so, his team will surely be a strong force. They may not have to make the playoffs but to be alive for it late in the season will be enough to get them going towards the next step. Smith is on his way to being a true quarterback and amongst the great young quarterbacks in today’s league. Stamp it, a 2007 legitimate fantasy sleeper.