Is the Aldon Smith experience stopping in Atlanta?
Aldon Smith saw his career become completely derailed on Aug. 7 after being released by the 49ers for his latest train-wreck the night prior. Smith was arrested in Santa Clara, Calif. on charges for D.U.I., hit and run and vandalism.
The move by San Francisco is the latest in an offseason filled with problematic losses for the team. Losses which include the firing of then head coach, Jim Harbaugh, losing seven of their defensive starters and both coordinators on both sides of the ball.
With Smith being a free agent the question looms weather a team will take a chance on the troubled outside linebacker. The Collegian staff did ponder the question if the Falcons would bother to take a look at the potential talent entering his fifth season in the NFL.
On the positive Smith could be seen as a needed commodity to help Atlanta out behind their defensive line. The first two years of Smith’s career showed that promise when he peaked in 2012 with 66 combined tackles and 19 and a half sacks.
Then the the following two season showed the potential dangers Smith would pose to any team that signs him. Smith’s tackles and sacks would drop drastically in 2013, which was accompanied with a 5-game absence after he checked into rehab following an accident in San Jose, Calif. and the second arrest for D.U.I. and possession of marijuana.
Smith would have his career low season with only 15 tackles and 2 sacks last season thanks to a 9 game suspension. The suspension came after the altercation at Los Angeles International Airport where Smith was alleged to have made a bomb threat.
The main concern for the Falcons has been to fix their defense especially with their linebacking core. There are question marks for the crop of players the Falcons have now for the positions there are a few positives.
Justin Durant (#52) and Brooks Reid (#56) are signs of encouragement after earning a combined 90 tackles for their respective teams last year before signing with Atlanta. Paul Worrilow (#55) is one of the linebackers who showed great promise last season with 142 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 fumbles. Vic Beasley comes into his rookie season with high hopes to make an impact for Atlanta’s newly constructed defense.
The linebacker core problem does not look like it will have a problem with tackling this season. The biggest impact Smith would add would be his sacks if he can stay out of trouble.
That’s another problem to throw into the equation. Does Arthur Blank and the rest of the organization want to deal with the headache of another trouble maker?
After Michael Vick almost ruined the organization with his dogfighting scandal in 2007.
Blank and the Falcons have been adamant about signing players and team personnel with good character and no off field issues.
The team had to deal with another problem related to animal cruelty when they release Prince Shembo after the linebacker was arrested on allegations that he killed his girlfriend’s dog.
Aldon Smith can be a huge difference maker for any team that sign him including the Falcons. Every team will take his track record into consideration both on and off the field and for Atlanta the troubled linebacker may likely proved to be too much of a gamble for a team looking to move forward.