After an up-and-down rookie season in the NFL highlighted by several drops, Smith appears to be closer to becoming a complete receiver. In his rookie season, Smith caught 50 passes for 841 yards and seven touchdowns. Those stats are pretty impressive for a rookie, but they could have been better based on Smith's talent.
Smith has just as much potential as the rest of the young receivers in the NFL, but it's just a matter of whether or not he can hone his skills in time to become a top-tier receiver.
So far in the preseason, Smith has shown that he can reach his potential. In the offseason, Smith clearly worked on his catching and ball skills, and it has certainly shown in the two preseason games that he has played.
Playing in the first and third preseason games, Smith has 11 catches for 146 yards. He runs his routes with much more ease and balance than just a year ago.
Route-running is an aspect of Smith's game that could determine how successful he is in the NFL. Coming into the league, Smith had some of the worst body control in the 2011 rookie class, which showed in his route running.
But in 2012, Smith appears to have improved his body control, as he has kept his balance by keeping his body close together when running his routes. The improved route running complemented with his improved catching skills make Smith a candidate to be a breakout player this season.
He will certainly be quarterback Joe Flacco's go-to target this season, and for years to come.
If Smith was able to catch 50 passes for over 800 yards with below-average catching skills and body control, who knows how well Smith could do this season?
Barring injury, Smith will certainly surpass his rookie stats and there's no reason to believe why he doesn't have a chance to make the Pro Bowl in his sophomore season.
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