While some San Francisco fans were hoping the 49ers would get rid of former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith after last season, first year head coach Jim Harbaugh says that 27-year-old is one of the elite quarterbacks in the game, CBS Sports reports.
“I think people that know football and understand the game appreciate Alex Smith as a very talented quarterback,” he said according to CBS. “He’s every bit the elite quarterback as there is playing in the game right now.”
Through eight games this season Smith has completed 64.1 percent of his passes while throwing for 10 touchdowns and giving up just two interceptions. His consistency has helped him produce a career high 97.3 quarterback rating and has been a key reason the 49ers sit at 7-1 this season. Last year Smith posted an 82.1 quarterback rating and completed just 59.6 percent of his passes. The 49ers drafted Smith No. 1 overall in the 2005 NFL draft, ahead of eventual standouts Aaron Rodgers and DeMarcus Ware. The former Utah star had all but disappointed in his first five years in the league, however under Harbaugh he is showing the type of performance fans expected when he was selected in 2005.