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Justin Smith Praised in NFL Top 100

Posted Jun 14, 2013

The peers of San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith gave him the ultimate tribute

The peers of San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith gave him the ultimate tribute in his placement as the No. 29 overall player on NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2013 list.

“I’m a huge Justin Smith fan,” said the NFL’s 2012 sack leader, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.

“He may be the best player right now,” Seattle Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung added.

Smith recorded 130 tackles and 14 tackles-for-loss in 2012, his 12th season in the NFL. The powerful defensive lineman earned his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl selection and was named as a second-team All-Pro at both defensive tackle and defensive end.

Smith’s technical skills and strength make him one of the top players in the league at the age of 33.

“He’s so good with his hands and his leverage,” teammate Alex Boone noted. “He understands where he is in a block and knows how to defeat it. Having to play him in training camp – that was a pain.”

Smith made it tough on every player he faced in 2012. His reputation as a bull-rushing force continues to be discussed around the league. It’s also extremely hard to neutralize.

“Even when you know the bull rush is coming you can’t stop it,” St. Louis Rams tackle Rodger Saffold said.

Smith had a 185 consecutive game streak snapped with a late-season triceps injury, but returned in the postseason to record 23 tackles and 13 quarterback pressures.

Smith registered 3.0 sacks in 2012, but was instrumental in helping Aldon Smith record a single-season franchise record of 19.5 sacks. The strong defensive tackle routinely took on double-team blocks to free up the outside linebacker to rush the quarterback.

“He does as good of a job as any defensive lineman in the game of helping his other defensive linemen be successful,” retired center Jeff Saturday said. “He is as unselfish as it gets… This guy is the true pro defensive lineman.” 

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