49ers' Aldon Smith top defensive rookie?

January, 4, 2012
1/04/12
8:05
PM ET
Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. removed the question mark from that headline. He's listing the San Francisco 49ers' Aldon Smith over Denver's Von Miller as the NFL's defensive rookie of the year.

Three NFC West rookies appeared on Williamson's list of 10 best, regardless of position. Arizona's Patrick Peterson was fifth and Seattle's Richard Sherman eighth.

Williamson on Peterson: "Just wait and see how good he is at corner in Year 2."

Williamson on Sherman: "He is already very good, but he soon will be a top-10 type of corner."

Those are highly encouraging assessments for the NFC West.

Williamson went into detail on Smith, who led the 49ers in sacks with 14. His vote went from Miller to Smith as the season progressed, in part because an injury dragged down Miller's performance.

Smith did plenty on the merits, though.

"The pressure Smith can put on a quarterback was just too overwhelming to ignore," Williamson wrote.

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