Telvin Smith is pretty small. Telvin Smith isn't exceptionally powerful. Telvin Smith looks like a safety. Telvin Smith is also the Jaguars best linebacker since Daryl Smith.
*pours one out*
The expectations set for Telvin have been high since the day he was drafted, both by fans and the coaching staff. And his rookie season showed why. Despite struggles early on, he ended the year on a immensely positive note, showing time and time again why nearly every outsider has been enamored with him.
Best Case Scenario
"The best-case scenario for Telvin Smith's rookie season is to see him win the weakside linebacker job in training camp and stake his claim as a play maker early on."
Neither of these technically happened. Telvin saw a good amount of snaps the entire season, but was not given full time starting responsibilities until around mid season. And expecting him to be an impact player early on was a bit much, and taught me a valuable lesson in what to expect from most rookies.
Worst Case Scenario
"The worst-case scenario for Telvin's rookie season would be to see him not make strides in his strength development and for him to cause the coaching staff to be hesitant to implement him into the lineup."
I ended up being off base here, for reasons I didn't really foresee. Telvin did indeed struggle mightily during the early portion of the season, but it had nothing to do with his size and everything to do with him adjusting to the speed of the NFL.
"Reasonable expectations for Telvin this season would be to expect him to put up a fight in training camp, but be a difference maker regardless of whether or not he starts."
More or less just a retread statement. Telvin earned snaps early, was a play maker at end of year, the end.
Thinking of Telvin Smith's best games, three come to mind: Against the Cleveland Browns, the second Indianapolis Colts game, and against Tennessee Titans.
Cleveland was truly his "breakout" game and the first game where he looked truly comfortable on an NFL field. Against the Colts, he was a part of a tremendous defensive effort and flew all over the field. But against the Titans, he recorded double digit tackles, and unlike most games ending up with heavy tackle stats, his impact was actually felt. He made several tackles at/behind the line of scrimmage, and blew up numerous plays, all while under the teams only nationally spotlighted game.
It's pretty safe to say the arrow can only point up for Telvin. As he gets stronger, his game will only expand more. He has all the tools to be a pro bowl talent and the play maker at linebacker this team hasn't had for years.