Mike Sando of ESPN:
One school of thought says the San Francisco 49ers got the most they'll ever get from quarterback Alex Smith last season.
What if last season was only the beginning?
That question ran through my mind while watching Smith fire passes on time and on target during a recent three-day stay at 49ers training camp. The answer became clearer every time Smith connected with newcomers Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, which was frequently. He appeared more accurate, more confident and more in command than I can ever recall seeing Smith during a training camp -- or any other time, for that matter.
"He's letting the ball go, he's making the right decisions and he's not afraid," tight end Vernon Davis said. "He's playing ball, he's having fun."
Smith finished the season with 3,144 yards, 17 TDs versus only five interceptions, but posted a respectable 7.1 yards per attempt, which ranked 17th among QBs with at least 10 games played. The 49ers added Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James to boost the passing game, and HC Jim Harbaugh has indicated that he has confidence in Smith, so it appears that they plan to open up the passing game a bit more. Considering he finished QB14 last year, our #18 ranking seems reasonable. He's the 25th QB off the board, so he's a solid QB2 that can be had dirt cheap.