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Mailbag: Expectations For Aldon Smith?

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So, at long last, Aldon Smith has been reinstated by the NFL. What are your expectations for what he can contribute?— Dan Batiste / Lafayette, LA

Rob: To be a productive part of the rotation at right end. He doesn't have to be a 19.5-sack guy like he was earlier in his career. If he can help piece together the production Robert Quinn gave them last year, they'll be in good shape. But a full training camp will be important for Smith after five years away from the game.

David: If Aldon Smith can play on a consistent basis, rush the passer and make an impact, that's all I'm asking for. He hasn't played in four years, so it'd be unfair to expect All-Pro production. But if he's ready to go, he could be a valuable member of the rotation — and that's exciting.

Mike McCarthy is known to keep (and use!) a fullback. Who do you think makes the cut as FB for this year's team? Do you think someone like Charlie Taumoepeau can be converted to FB? Or someone like Jordan Chunn?— J.M. Smith / Waldorf, MD

Rob: They picked up the option on Jamize Olawale and I would imagine it's still his job to lose at this point. This hasn't really manifested itself in games, but offensive coordinator Kellen Moore loves Olawale's versatility as a skill player, not just as a lead blocker. Perhaps that shows up a little more this year. But there are only so many touches to go around.

David: If I had to bet on someone, it'd definitely be Jamize Olawale. But I'm going to keep an eye on undrafted rookie Sewo Olonilua. The former TCU running back is 6'3, 230 pounds. He's obviously big, but he's good with the ball in his hands. I'm excited to see what he can do when the team finally gets to report for practice.

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