The Potential of Aldon Smith for the 2020 Dallas Cowboys

Aldon Smith

The Dallas Cowboys season begins on Sunday afternoon and finally, all of the anticipation becomes irrelevant. Real NFL football is back! The Cowboys face off against the Los Angeles Rams and they might just have a trick up their sleeve. Dallas may potentially have a secret weapon who, if healthy and up for game day, could propel them to NFC glory. That person is Aldon Smith.

Aldon Smith and His 2020 Potential With the Dallas Cowboys

The Past

It may seem a little far fetched to assume Smith will have a huge impact out of the gates. One can just as easily say, “he is a burnout who can never stay out of trouble.” This would be a true statement.

Since the beginning of Aldon Smith’s career, he has been a polarizing player. He started his career off with the San Francisco 49ers in the early 2011 and made an immediate impact. He helped lead an absolutely stacked defense to a Super Bowl berth in his sophomore season. If you can remember, that was a defense with exceptional talent all over the field. They fielded Pro Bowlers Justin Smith and Donte Whitner, as well as 1st team All-Pro’s Navarro Bowman, Patrick Willis, and Dashon Goldson. Aldon Smith was dominant as well and received First-Team All-Pro honors that same season. After a few good seasons though, he got in trouble multiple different times. He flamed out and got cut by the 49ers in 2015 only to find a home across the bay for one season in Oakland.

Smith showed similar promise in the Silver and Black. The Raiders were a bad team but he was playing well despite a lot of offensive attention. He started seven games before getting in trouble once again and getting cut by Oakland as well. That was the last time Smith ever step foot on an NFL field. Until now.

The Return

There will be skeptics aplenty when Aldon steps back on the field on Sunday. Smith is on the wrong side of 30 and hasn’t played in over five years. The skeptics would be correct to be, well, skeptical. Remember though, not playing in five years for a natural talent like Smith could actually turn out to be a *good* thing. He can prove to have fully fought his demons to thrive in sobriety and become a better man. Not that his body is back to being 25 years old again, but for someone like him, the muscle memory of rushing the quarterback doesn’t disappear. It only needs to be brought back out from suppression. With an off-season of coaching to prepare his body, Smith has the potential to come out guns blazing and really help this Cowboys defense.

If Aldon Smith is able to come in and make even half the impact he had the last time he was on the field, the defense gets a huge boost. Smith adds much needed depth to a defensive line/linebacker room. More importantly, with a healthy rotation of defensive lineman, Smith can eat up offensive lineman in one on one situations. Demarcus Lawrence is going to demand double teams, as he has been the last couple years. If you couple that with a free roaming Smith, quarterbacks will have major issues.

On top of that, yet to be mentioned guys like Everson Griffen, Dontari Poe and Tyrone Crawford will help as well. The glaring weakness for Dallas this season may be the secondary. They are young and unproven. The best friend of a suspect secondary, however, is a dominant defensive line. The Cowboys have the pieces to really get after the quarterback this year.

Last Word

On the Cowboys roster ahead of week one, Smith is listed as the starting Sam Linebacker. That should be surprising enough to fans. Smith coming out of multiple years off to better himself, to being listed as a Week 1 starter is huge for the Cowboys. At that position he will not have his hand in the ground 100% of the time. When he subs in to rush the passer and pins his ears back… good luck to Jared Goff this week.

Aldon Smith has had a true journeyman career thus far. He has hit rock bottom and seemingly rose from the ashes. If he can perform anywhere close to his previous playing years and most importantly, stay out of trouble, Smith can have a true bounce back season.

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