Greatest 49ers of all time: No. 24 – Justin Smith
Career Stats with 49ers: 414 tackles, 43.5 sacks, ten forced fumbles, five fumbles recovered, one interception, nine passes defended
By what I can tell, Smith is one of those guys who never got the recognition he deserved. Even when he was busy lighting it up in the NFL, most casual fans had no idea who he even was. I’m sure 49ers fans were very aware of his presence, though.
Smith was one of those well-rounded defensive ends who just found ways to win. He wasn’t a pass-rushing superstar, but he never failed to collapse the pocket. He also wasn’t considered a pure run stuffer, but routinely found ways to clog the rushing lanes and drag down runners for a loss.
It’s not often a jack-of-all-trades type of defensive end comes around like that. That, however, was Smith in a nutshell.
This may be a little high for Smith, especially considering he spent half of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals. However, as a proponent for Smith getting the credit he earned, I believe the No. 24 spot is fitting for one of the 49ers’ most reliable, effective defensive linemen in team history.