Alex Smith: Is San Francisco 49ers QB the 2011 NFL Comeback POY?

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IDecember 7, 2011

Alex Smith: Is San Francisco 49ers QB the 2011 NFL Comeback POY?

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    The San Francisco 49ers just wrapped up the NFC West, and Alex Smith has been a major reason for the success of the team in 2011.

    Smith has surprised many experts with his superb play this season. After six long seasons of mediocrity, he is playing better than most QBs and should be considered the front-runner for the 2011 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.

    He isn't he only one who deserves to be considered, however. Let's take a look at how he stacks up as I examine the top three players who deserve consideration. 

Elvis Dumervil, Denver Broncos

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    In 2009, Elvis Dumervil led the NFL with 17 sacks, prompting the Denver Broncos to shell out a king's ransom to retain his valuable services. 

    Then in August at the team's practice facilities, Dumervil suffered a torn pectoral muscle similar to the one Houston Texans star Mario Williams suffered earlier this year. The injury sidelined the pass-rushing specialist the entire 2010 season.

    Through the first half of the season, Dumervil wasn't able to get into a groove and struggled to produce for the Broncos. 

    But since Week 9, Dumervil has been on fire. He has recorded at least half a sack in every game and now has 6.5 sacks on the season.

    If he can keep the momentum going throughout the rest of the year, Dumervil might challenge for the NFL Comeback POY award.

Plaxico Burrress, New York Jets

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    Plaxico Burress was an elite wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants before infamously shooting himself in the leg and ending up in prison after being convicted on criminal handgun charges.

    On June 6, Burress was released from the Oneida Correctional Facility after serving his time. There were many suitors for his services, but he chose to stay in New York to play for the Jets.

    Burress has once again shown his value as an excellent receiver, and he has been a vital part of the success the Jets have had in the passing game.

    Through 12 games, Burress has caught 37 passes for 512 yards and seven touchdowns.

    If Mark Sanchez and Burress can connect a few more times this season and get him to 10 touchdowns, he should strongly be considered to win the 2011 NFL Comeback POY award. 

Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers

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    Alex Smith should be considered the front-runner to win the 2011 NFL Comeback POY award. 

    After a tumultuous career, eight offensive coordinators in seven years, getting benched, then getting reinserted into the starting lineup, you might say Smith has had a frustrating career.

    Mike Singletary and Mike Nolan didn't do him any favors handling things the way they did, but somehow Smith has rallied around new head coach Jim Harbaugh.

    Smith could arguably make the case for having a Pro Bowl year. 

    So far this season, Smith has these stats:

    • 203-for-321 (63.2%), 2,390 yards (7.4 average), 15 touchdowns, 5 interceptions (94.9 quarterback rating)

    Not bad for a guy that hovered around a mid-70s quarterback rating for his career.

    Additionally, he has led his team to a record of 10-2, while personally leading four come-from-behind fourth-quarter victories (tied for first).

    Unless the other two players really step up their game and Smith has a bad finish, he should have this award locked up.