You can dispute Smith’s place among the best linebackers in the league, but not his production.
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It’s pretty apparent that the 3-2 Jacksonville Jaguars are not lacking confidence on defense. And for good reason. Led by cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, Jacksonville just picked off Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times last week.
Jacksonville ranks second in the NFL in scoring defense and has yielded the third-fewest passing yards in the NFL. One of the primary reasons for this success is reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week Telvin Smith, who now considers himself the best linebacker in the NFL.
“I feel like, pound for pound, I’m the best linebacker in the league,” Smith said, via First Coast News. “And when I say that, I mean, you see it in the run I affect the game, in the pass I affect the game, you look at our blitzes I affect the game on pressures and stuff like that. I consider myself to be an all-around (linebacker).”
We’re pretty sure the likes of Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner would like to have a word with Smith here. But the numbers to speak for themselves.
A fifth-round pick from Florida State back in 2014, Smith is coming off a Week 5 performance that saw him rack up 10 tackles (six solo) while returning a Big Ben interception for a touchdown. This comes on the heels of him putting up 110-plus tackles in each of his first three NFL seasons.
It now looks like Smith is joining Ramsey in boasting that elite-level confidence that makes the game’s best defenders even better. Whether that means he’s actually the best linebacker in the NFL remains in the eye of the beholder.