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Aldon Smith: 'If I'm on my game, I can't be stopped'

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One nugget we bypassed in our takeaways from this week's mandatory minicamp in San Francisco: The progress of Aldon Smith.

Despite missing part of the week with a minor toe injury, the pass rusher believes he's in optimal shape for the season ahead.

"I feel fast now," Smith said, per the team's official website. "I've lost some weight, slimmed up, gotten stronger and it's shown on the field."

General manager Trent Baalke in April called Smith "hungry" after a down season that saw the fifth-year outside linebacker notch just two sacks in seven games. After ripping off 19.5 sacks in 2012, Smith has just 10.5 takedowns over the past two years, campaigns sideswiped by a constellation of off-the-field trangressions and less-than-dominant play.

"I don't think I played to my level, and I want to do everything it takes to play consistently at my level," Smith said. "I know that when I'm playing consistently and I'm on my game, I can't be stopped."

Every player in the league is talking pretty right now. If they're all correct about their vast potential, this season will produce 32 franchise quarterbacks, hundreds of 1,000-yard rushers and more defensive terrors than a human could count.

We remain skeptical of June's fluffy hyperbole, but Smith has shown before that he can play at a pristine level. If his body and mind are right, he still offers a higher ceiling than anyone else on San Francisco's talent-drained defense.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast welcomes Jeff Darlington to discuss minicamp stories, and Conor Orr calls in for the debut of a new segment. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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