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With the first true surprise in terms of prospect selected, the San Francisco 49ers have selected Aldon Smith with the No. 7 overall choice in the draft — four full choices above the top mock drafts. In the end, it shows just how high teams regarded the pass rushing potential of Smith even though some critics determined his “tweener” status and lack of experience might knock him down some draft boards.
It’s an interesting choice for the 49ers with Blaine Gabbert and several other players on the board. Most believed the team would go with a cornerback if Patrick Peterson were available or quarterback given the Alex Smith conundrum the team has lived under in recent seasons. With new head coach Jim Harbaugh in place and reputation as a quarterback’s coach, apparently the team believes they can address the position in later rounds or with a veteran after the labor situation is resolved.
The 49ers are getting one of the premiere defensive players in the draft, however, and so this instantly makes the team’s secondary better. Smith also will get paid a bit more given the higher draft position and he certainly has to be pleased to be targeted this early. Last year’s sack leader Justin Smith is an older defensive end and recent draft choices like Manny Lawson and Ahmad Brooks have failed to become the pass rusher that the team hoped for.
Smith should instantly be expected to contribute to that sack total by providing a strong edge rushing presence, although I wouldn’t expect the Niners to be finished addressing their defensive front.
The rumors have been growing that the Houston Texans are closing in on Missouri linebacker/defensive end Aldon Smith for the last several days. With the final words coming in from sportswriters on the morning of the first round of the NFL Draft, it seems those predictions are bound to come true.
Early projections had Smith’s “tweener” status knocking him to the bottom half of the first round. Others cited his lack of experience or bulk as other reasons why he might fall, yet the incredible athleticism and pass-rushing prowess has kept Smith near the top even amid any criticism.
Top draft analysts have Smith landing with Houston, especially given the status and tendencies of new Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. As Rick Gosselin writes, “The Texans are switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme, and Smith can play anywhere in it. He has the frame to bulk up to play end or the speed and athleticism to play linebacker. The NFL’s 30th-ranked defense needs help.”
Mel Kiper believes the same and comments, “Smith represents a ton of upside for a defense that really needs to add some pass-rushing help opposite the great Mario Williams.” Nearly everyone compares Smith to DeMarcus Ware in terms of upside, so this seems a can’t-miss selection in the draft. Then again, we’ve all learned that anything is possible.
As the NFL enters the final stretch before this weekend’s NFL Draft, prospects like Missouri’s Aldon Smith are wondering just how well they will fare after months of speculation. Fortunately for the talented defensive end/linebacker, the stock seems to be rising as teams fall in love with his pass rushing potential.
If mock drafts are to be believed, Smith is now projecting at the higher levels of the teens after several weeks placing him to the Jaguars at No. 16 or the Chargers at No. 18. Instead, the Houston Texans are a popular landing spot for Smith given Wade Phillips arrival as defensive coordinator and his work with DeMarcus Ware — a player to which Smith is commonly compared.
In the most recent SB Nation NFL Mock Draft, Brian Galliford writes, “Smith doesn’t project perfectly as a rush linebacker, but in Wade Phillips’ one-gap scheme, he’d have a lot of opportunities to blitz and get after the QB.” The same belief persists at Walter Football: “It’s never too early to draft a potential double-digit sack artist. Pass-rushing defensive ends often go earlier than projected.”
Even stronger evidence is found with three of four mock drafts at NFL.com projecting Smith to the Texans, with only Pat Kirwan believing the Texans will go elsewhere — with Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt. At this point, it looks like Smith’s potential wins out over those who believed he could use another in school to boost his stock, and it seems the Texans will be the ones to delight in the decision.
The top of the NFL draft can be shaken when a team choosing lower in the first round has its sights set on a particular player. Usually it’s someone with a higher ceiling for potential than others, and that’s exactly what some draft writers are seeing with Aldon Smith, the talented defensive end/linebacker out of Missouri.
Smith’s draft stock has been well-chronicled here, moving around the teens and commonly linked with choices like No. 16 to the Jaguars or No. 18 to the Chargers. The Texans at No. 11 have been the highest team drafting Smith in common mock drafts, but the National Football Post’s Wes Bunting has Smith possibly going one choice higher — albeit in a trade.
Executing a trade for the Detroit Lions, Bunting believes the Redskins need to move down combined with the Lions need for a pass rusher could create an interesting situation:
The Redskins desperately need to get out of this pick and acquire more selections to fill more needs later in the draft. The hard part will be finding a trade partner. I love the pressure the Lions generate up front, but I think they’re one more legit pass rusher away on the outside from developing into one of the league’s best. Smith is a gifted athlete who can play up and down, inside or out and at only 21 years old the kid has the skill set and passion to mature into one of the league’s best. However, in order for the Lions to get him I think they might need to leapfrog the Vikings and Texans.
The oft-quoted scouting report on Aldon Smith was that he would be a surefire Top 10 player in next year’s draft with another year of experience at the college level. However, it seems that potential might be enough to make him one a year earlier.
Brian Galliford's latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft for SB Nation finds Aldon Smith's stock falling just a bit to the San Diego Chargers, providing an interesting twist for a team sorely in need of a pass rusher. The talented Missouri defensive end has also been profiled as an outside linebacker -- given that "tweener" status -- and teams have some projecting to do when considering a player like Smith.
Yet Smith's talent also has him profiled as a possible Top 10 choice by Mel Kiper and the reason is that pass rushers simply don't last in a draft. Given the Chargers recent spate of injuries and draft flops, Smith fits quite well if he's still available at the Chargers first round slot at No. 18.
Galliford writes, "The Chargers have had bad luck with pass rushers of late, what with Shawne Merriman's injuries and ultimate departure, and the ineffectiveness of first-round pick Larry English. Smith is a Top 10 talent, and too good to last beyond this point."
Still the Chargers are not that far off. Kevin Burnett had six sacks as an interior linebacker and Shaun Phillips had 11. English is still full of potential, so the addition of Smith and any development of a young player could add a significant boost to the pass rush and return San Diego to the top of the division. The days of Shawne Merriman are now clearly behind the team, and A.J. Smith is looking to establish his new dominant defensive player.
Another few weeks, another mock draft emerges from ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper. This time around, Aldon Smith heads to the Jacksonville Jaguars at the No. 16 position in the first round. The talented Missouri defensive end also projects to play outside linebacker by some scouts, giving the bonus and curse of being labeled a tweener by some and versatile by others.
The knock on Smith is that he's a raw project and that usually means some time without on-field results, but that's not how Kiper sees things. He writes:
Another guy I'm sticking with from the previous mock, Smith offers a raw talent package with a lot of upside. He's a player who could easily have been a top-10 pick in 2012 had he stuck around Missouri for another year of development. The Jags went for veterans to spackle over the holes at defensive end last year, but it's time to develop some edge talent to go with what is a really promising defensive interior. Smith is an ideal developmental option who can still help in 2011.
The addition of young defensive tackle Tyson Alualu marked the Jags draft class last year and the results were very promising. Adding Smith bolsters a line and gives the Jags some fierce talent up front against some incredible quarterbacks in the AFC South.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been keeping an eye on Mizzou DE Aldon Smith for some time. Mike Kelly, voice of the Missouri Tigers, talked with Josh Looney on Chiefs Live! this week and shared an interesting story from last year.
"A year ago [Missouri LB] Sean [Weatherspoon] was completing his college career and was getting ready for last year's NFL draft and went on the tour where he visited a number of teams.
"I just happened to have knee surgery last April so I was in the training room at Missouri one afternoon and 'Spoon walks in. He had just got back from visiting the Chiefs. We talked a little bit about how it went. [He said,] 'Oh, it was great. I loved the people up there. Everybody up there was very kind to me.'
"But then he looked at me and he said, 'There's no way I'm going to Kansas City'. I said, 'OK how do you know there's no way the Chiefs will take you?' He said, 'Because we spent the entire conversation talking about Aldon Smith.'"
Smith wasn't eligible to come out last year so the Chiefs were doing some due diligence at least a year in advance. Chiefs GM Scott Pioli talked a little bit at the Combine about defensive ends making the transition to outside linebacker. He said Combine drills for those players are interesting as you try to figure out how athletic they are and what kind of movement they can have.
Interesting stuff. Keep an eye on Smith and the Chiefs in the 2011 NFL draft.
The National Football Post’s Greg Gabriel recently highlighted two defensive linemen who should be selected in the first round in late April’s NFL Draft, and the reports read quite positive on both players: Corey Liuget and Aldon Smith. In particular, Missouri’s Smith is compared to DeMarcus Ware for his pass rushing skills and sheer athleticism in getting around offensive linemen.
He is best as a pass rusher and comes off the ball very quickly with an explosive first step. He stays low and he has a knack for slithering through blockers to find his way to the quarterback. He has quick hands and good hand use and does a good job keeping blockers off his body. While his sack numbers were down from 2009 this season he still had a lot of pressures and hits.
Gabriel also explains that Smith saw a lot of double teams last year, which kept him from racking up the stats of fellow draft prospects like Ryan Kerrigan. He still lacks some experience and will also add bulk over the long-term but Gabriel’s in-depth report shows more and more reasons why Smith should be selected fairly early — most likely between 11 and 18 — in the NFL Draft.
Missouri Tigers DE Aldon Smith is setting up workout list and there are both 3-4 and 4-3 teams involved. We already knew he was visiting the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, as well as about eight other teams, according to a Columbia Daily Tribune report last week.
Eric Blumberg of KOMU Sports reports on a few of the other teams including Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons.
There are a lot of interesting names on that list. The Patriots obviously are the most interesting. They're reportedly looking at a pass rusher and Smith could fill that need. The Ravens are one of the league's elite defenses so that would be another terrific fit for him. I'm not sure how the Broncos, who hold the second pick, would get Smith. I don't see him falling to the second round so the Broncos would likely have to trade down. The Falcons already have one of Smith's former teammates in LB Sean Weatherspoon.
The Rams are picking 14th so that may be the highest Smith goes, although NFL Network's Michael Lombardi has been high on Smith and says San Francisco at No. 7 is a possibility.
SB Nation's latest mock draft from Brian Galliford is up, and that means some movement up and down the predicted draft board for local prospects like Aldon Smith. The Missouri defensive standout has been linked to not only several teams and draft slots, but several positions as well -- leading some to question whether he will fall as a tweener or rise because of his versatility.
According to Galliford, the Texans are the team to grab Smith's defensive prowess and athleticism at the No. 11 position. With a new defensive coordinator coming over from the Cowboys in Wade Phillips, Galliford sees the connection to Smith as his primary rushing weapon: "Some question whether or not Smith is capable of playing 3-4 outside linebacker. In Wade Phillips' one-gap system, his natural athleticism and pass rushing ability would be at the forefront."
Smith would essentially become Phillips new DeMarcus Ware to play with on the field and torment opposing quarterbacks through a myriad of schemes meant to disrupt the passing game and offensive timing. Certainly, Smith's agility and speed translate well into that role, although some question his experience and wish he would have played for another year at the college level. Yet teams won't usually wait on such strong potential in a pass rusher, so such a high reach is a definite possibility in the draft.
In Todd McShay’s latest column, he comments on the draft prospects and rumors buzzing around two of Missouri’s prime draft assets: quarterback Blaine Gabbert and DE/OLB Aldon Smith. When speaking of the talented pass rusher, McShay specifically praises Smith’s athleticism and pass rushing moves. But there are some issues still remaining that will keep Smith from being a predicted Top 10 player:
Smith has a somewhat lean frame but doesn’t appear to have the lateral agility or fluid hips teams look for in 3-4 outside linebackers. But with room to add some bulk and his pass-rush ability Smith is well-equipped to play end in a 4-3 scheme. He has also shown on film the ability to slide inside and provide an interior pass rush.
In other words, as good as Smith can look against competition in college and as great as he can workout, there simply has to be a place for him on the field at the NFL level. That tweener status can really hurt a player’s draft stock because any team picking at a top spot, or even in the first round, really can’t afford for a player not to have a very understood role coming into the team.
Consider what happens when a team doesn’t know what to do with the player they’ve chosen. Last year’s usage of C.J. Spiller for the Buffalo Bills provides one example of a team choosing the athletic player that had no specific role awaiting him. The good news for the Bills is that offensive role players like that can learn. But the defensive side is another issue entirely, and it’s one that Aldon Smith might suffer from as teams try to figure out how exactly to utilize his incredible skill set.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might be the perfect landing spot for someone like Missouri's Aldon Smith. That's the thought process behind the latest mock draft from SB Nation, and it's a choice that makes sense -- assuming, at least, that Smith falls that far. To date, Smith comes off of the board around the 16th choice, so if he's around at 20, that could become a steal.
Someone knows what they are doing in Tampa Bay. That much is abundantly clear. The young front office anchored by Mark Dominik and a coaching staff led by Raheem Morris have outperformed the expectations of most with 10 wins in 2010 after a dismal three-win season the year before. Their gunslinger of a quarterback, Josh Freeman, clearly blossomed in his first full season, the lines are young and the talent at the skill positions is obvious.
Some needs are still present, but a pick like Smith makes sense. Thus you have the following from SB Nation's Brian Galliford, "The Bucs desperately need an end, and here, they'd get to pick between raw upside (Smith) and consistent production (Ryan Kerrigan). Smith seems like a better fit all around for the young, improving and vastly underrated Buccaneers."
Last year, the Bucs focused on the interior of the defensive line, taking Gerald McCoy early and Brian Price from UCLA a bit later. Neither one freed up the pass rushers, but d-linemen take some time, so expect some improvement in sacks simply from the evolution of both players. Adding an athlete like Smith also brings another player off the edge to take advantage of one-on-one match-ups. If Smith is available, it's a pick that makes sense.
It's hard to predict where Missouri DE Aldon Smith will go in the draft. I've seen some 2011 NFL mock drafts, like one from NFL Network's Michael Lombardi last week, that have him going to the San Francisco 49ers with the seventh overall pick. And then we have others that have him dropping into the 20s.
Me? I don't see him getting past St. Louis with the Rams picking 14th. SB Nation's latest 2011 NFL mock draft has him dropping all the way to 20th and going to the Bucs:
No matter how the first round projects each time we shake this up, a defensive end lands here. That's a beautiful thing for the pass rush-needy Bucs, and in this case, they're getting a guy in Smith that could very well be the best of the bunch when it's over with.
I hadn't thought much about the Bucs and it's interesting that this is one spot ahead of Kansas City. The Bucs run a 4-3 scheme and that's what Smith has experience in so from that aspect that makes sense. Smith's also being considered by some teams in a 3-4 defense to become an outside linebacker. It's unclear which way he prefers.
Smith does have that boom or bust feel to him where he could be the best pass rusher in this group, and it's a very talented defensive end group this year.
We've been looking at mock drafts around the web the last few days and I found one 2011 NFL mock draft that comes up with an interesting landing spot for Missouri Tigers DE Aldon Smith -- New England. Indeed, the Patriots need pass rush help and Smith could potentially fill that void.
Here's what CBS Sports' Pete Prisco said when mocking Smith to the Pats:
The pass rush has to improve from the outside and this kid can move from defensive end or rush outside linebacker in the Patriots' scheme.
Can he make that transition? I think most feel that he can but it's still a crap shoot because it's a different position. That said, if anyone can help him make that transition, it'd be Bill Belichick and the Patriots. This would, in my mind, be the best possible destination for Smith.
The Patriots understand how to develop players, which would help him, and he'd be walking into a situation with an immediate winner.
SB Nation has posted their latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft and that means Aldon Smith has a new projected home, albeit one not far from his college days at Missouri: the St. Louis Rams. Those familiar with the Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo will remember that he was hired as the defensive coordinator for the Super Bowl winning New York Giants, so it’s no surprise if he looks at bolster his pass rush on draft day.
That’s exactly what Aldon Smith is supposed to add, and a cornerstone like former top pick Chris Long would benefit from another athletic presence on the opposing side. Currently, offensive coordinators can focus on Long’s side and scheme him out of the game. Smith’s instincts and versatility would give Spagnuolo another weapon to keep offenses off balance.
Brian Galliford believes Smith could end up in St. Louis simply because the top receivers — the Rams most pressing need — would already be taken. With the recent injury to Julio Jones, perhaps the Rams will have the chance to choose between both, but Smith might win out either way with his talent mix.
Missouri’s incredibly athletic defensive end and linebacker prospect Aldon Smith continues to find his home near the very center of the NFL draft’s first round — at least according to the mocks that continue to roll in from sportswriters. With a constant position moving through the teens, Smith’s draft stock is becoming fairly predictable.
Mark Ingram is the most entrenched player in the middle of the first round of most mocks — consistently heading to the Dolphins at No. 15. Outside of that, Smith is a constant favorite to head to teams choosing from 11 to 19, whether the Texans grab him early or the Giants snag him late. Recently, the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 16 have been the favorites.
Mel Kiper recently tabbed Smith for the Jags pick in his latest mock and now Don Banks does the same in Sports Illustrated’s recent release:
The Jaguars are looking to jack up their pass rush quotient (once again) and this is about the neighborhood in which most think Smith will come off the board. He has the size and speed to get to the quarterback, but as an underclassman might need a little time to hone his craft and bulk up his body in the NFL.
The Jags certainly would benefit from another pass rusher to team alongside last year’s selection of Tyson Alualu, who has the flexibility to move both inside and outside. Smith would match that versatility as a guy who can drop back or set up along the line.
Missouri Tigers DE Aldon Smith has been invited to the 2011 NFL Combine and will be in attendance. His former teammate, QB Blaine Gabbert, won't be participating in all the drills choosing not to throw until the Mizzou pro day on March 17.
Smith, though, will be participating in all the drills, his agent confirmed to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The NFL Combine isn't the end-all, be-all when it comes to the NFL draft but it is an important piece of the puzzle. And it's especially important for someone like Smith, who still doesn't quite know what position he'll play at the next level. He'll be a defensive end in a 4-3 defense or an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
He's been labeled a solid athlete so scouts who are thinking about standing him up in the 3-4 will want to see his speed, quickness and ability to react. You'll learn the most about a player by watching the tape but, for players like Smith, the Combine is valuable.
He's already expected to be picked in the top half of the 2011 NFL draft and I wouldn't be completely surprised if he impressed some folks this weekend with his athleticism (which is what the Combine is made for) and moved up closer to a top 10 pick.
For an excellent profile of Aldon Smith, check out this piece at Rock M Nation.
We're checking out the various 2011 NFL mock drafts out there and they continue to project Missouri Tigers DE Aldon Smith in the top half of the first round. We've seen him connected to the Houston Texans with the 11th pick often but SB Nation's Brian Galliford's latest mock draft has him going to the St. Louis Rams at the 14th pick.
In making the pick, he makes a good point about the Rams and Smith:
Steve Spagnuolo was part of a Giants organization known for stocking up on defensive ends; he hasn't had the opportunity to do that yet in St. Louis. The team does need to complement Chris Long, however, and Smith's athleticism and upside are both through the roof.
The Giants were lauded the year they won the Super Bowl for stocking up on defensive linemen, and Spagnuolo was part of that team. As Galliford noted, the Rams already have Chris Long and Smith could be a solid complement to him.
In the Rams defense, Smith would be a 4-3 defensive end as opposed to a 3-4 outside linebacker. We should get a better idea over the coming weeks and months which position NFL teams think he'll be best at.
For more on Smith and the Mizzou Tigers, check out Rock M Nation.
Missouri Tigers DE Aldon Smith had an impressive season in 2009 and appeared to be well on his way to do the same in 2010 before a leg injury knocked out part of his season. Smith returned later in the season, though, as if nothing had happened so physically he's okay.
Mentally, the idea of playing in the NFL is just starting to hit him. Here's a passage from his Sporting News diary:
My last game at Missouri was when I started really thinking about playing in the NFL. Really -- and this is going to sound crazy -- I never would have thought that I was going to play in the NFL. It was always one of those things where you think it's cool, but it wasn't like some kids who grow up their whole life and say, "I want to go to the NFL, I'm going to play in the NFL." I played football my junior and senior years in high school. People always sort of told me I could play in the NFL, things like that, but I didn't believe it. It's starting to hit me now.
Not only will he play in the NFL, he'll be a first-round pick. While QB Blaine Gabbert got most of the press (as quarterbacks do), it could be Smith who is more of a sure thing in the NFL. Arguably the second least important position in the game is pass rusher so Smith, if he can be productive in the NFL, will be an important player.
Smith's draft stock is a fairly large range. I've heard as high as the top 10 for him, which isn't out of this world considering he's a pass rusher, and I've heard dropping to the bottom of the first round. My gut tells me that Smith is going to dominate at the NFL Combine and his stock is going to move up. I think he's got the physical skill set to make some NFL teams interested.
With the addition of top 10 selection Tyson Alualu last season, the Jags took care of the interior portion of their defensive line. The season before that, they addressed the offensive line with two first rounders in Eben Britton and Eugene Monroe. According to Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft, the Jacksonville should continue to address the lines with yet another first-round pick.
This time, Kiper has Missouri OLB/DE Aldon Smith falling to No. 18 in the draft to the Jaguars as their help off of the edge. The age and injury concerns of Aaron Kampman certainly make this pick a possibility, yet it seems there are more questions at other skill positions. Then again, it’s an early mock draft so we’ll see this change most likely. Kiper notes:
Jacksonville addressed the interior of its defensive line in last year’s draft and sought out bandages at defensive end. With Smith, the Jags get a raw talent with the size to add sacks from that position. Smith is a guy who would be a potential lock for the top 10 if he stuck around for his senior year, so if the Jags soak up some of the developmental work, they could have a player long term.
With the latest two-round mock from Greg Cox over at WalterFootball.com available, he has super-athletic LB/DE Aldon Smith from Missouri taking up residence in sunny San Diego with the 17th pick. The reason? Larry English has yet to fill the hole vacated by Shawne Merriman’s pass rush decline. Without a force off the edge, the Chargers lose their defensive bite.
I was not a fan of the move to trade up so boldly to select running back Ryan Mathews last year because I felt it sent the message that the team was one player away from a deep playoff run. This is the sort of arrogant decision that has earned general manager A.J. Smith the nickname “lord of no rings”.
Contract situations with their star receiver and left tackle helped them (once again) start slowly and this time the deficit was too much to overcome. Their season was a success on the stat sheet and the talent definitely has plenty of talent.
If there is a hole it has to be the spot Larry English, a 2009 first-rounder, was supposed to fill when Shawne Merriman departed. It seems like wherever I project Aldon Smith there are going to be fans who bemoan him as a potential bust because of his freakish athletic ability, but he is certainly worth being taken in the teens.
Missouri Tigers DE Aldon Smith is entering the 2011 NFL draft and the various 2011 NFL mock drafts out there that we're seeing like him as part of the Houston Texans. The Texans pick 11th and in the latest SB Nation mock draft that would mean he'd be picked ahead of QB Blaine Gabbert.
The Texans have DE Mario Williams so pairing him with Smith, both of whom could move to outside linebacker, would make for potentially solid pass rush.
Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri. Wade Phillips is moving the Texans to a 3-4 defense, and his priority is upgrading his front seven with as much talent as possible. Smith has it in spades.
We've also heard the Kansas City Chiefs, who also play the 3-4 defense, as a possibility for Smith. The Texans moving to the 3-4 defense should help Smith as he's one of the defensive ends that could make the switch to outside linebacker. The Texans play in a division with Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning so getting to the quarterback is an absolute must for those in the AFC South.
It's becoming clear that Smith will be a first round pick, and possibly in the first half of the first round. He had some injury concerns last year but that doesn't appear to be affecting his draft stock very much.
Wade Phillips certainly enjoyed employing the talents of dominating pass rusher DeMarcus Ware in his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys. Now the new Texans defensive coordinator might be getting Ware 2.0 if the team drafts Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith at No. 11 in the upcoming NFL Draft.
That’s the conjecture at least coming out of the latest SB Nation Mock Draft, where the rising stock of Smith now sits just outside the Top 10:
When Wade Phillips was with Dallas, he coached the league’s best outside linebacker in DeMarcus Ware, a former No. 11 overall pick that nobody saw coming and many questioned. Smith is in the same mold – a raw, freakishly athletic player that Phillips would love for his 3-4 defense.
Many Mizzou fans would probably be ecstatic to see their college defensive titan staying close by and that’s exactly what several media outlets are suggesting as more and more NFL mock drafts come out with each passing week. Of course, we’re still a few months away from the actual event and even a month off from the combine, but in the digital news cycle, it’s never too early to dream.
The Sports Jury’s latest mock is the latest one unveiled that has Smith headed to the Chiefs with the 21st overall selection in the first round. It’s clear that linebacker is a need spot with the Chiefs, although less so than last year. Derrick Johnson stepped up quite well this off-season, Jovan Belcher came into his own and then there’s some guy named Tamba Hali.
However, that doesn’t dismiss the inexperience of Andy Studebaker, the aging Mike Vrabel and the need for more athleticism and depth all around. The Chiefs still need another pass rusher in their defensive arsenal to take the pressure off of Hali and go to the next level on defense. Smith would fit all of those needs as a probable 3-4 linebacker.
Missouri Tigers DE Aldon Smith could be staying in Missouri. We looked at a 2011 NFL mock draft last week that had him going to the Kansas City Chiefs with the 21st pick and now we're looking at another that has him going to the St. Louis Rams with the 14th pick.
Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings has his latest 2011 NFL mock draft for SBNation.com and thinks Smith will be headed to the Rams.
Steve Spagnuolo's defensive system is predicated on pressure. Chris Long is making strides under Spagnuolo's guidance, but the team has replaceable talent everywhere else along the defensive line. Smith is a local product in need of a lot of polish, but his upside is tremendous.
If it's pressure you want, then Smith is a good candidate. He's a little more raw but the Rams are a young team and any first round pick you're going to live through the bumps and bruises if you think they're worth it.
It would be pretty neat if Smith could stay in the area to play his NFL ball. He could look no further than WR Danario Alexander, another former Mizzou player, who is also playing with the Rams.
The NFL offseason is nearly in full force with just four teams still playing but that doesn't mean 2011 NFL mock draft season hasn't already started. Mock drafts are spilling in and we're starting to get an idea of where folks are rating certain players but Missouri Tigers DE Aldon Smith appears to be a first round pick.
Plenty can change in the coming months with the NFL Combine and other workouts coming up but Smith appears destined for the first round. The Kansas City Chiefs are a team that could think about another pass-rusher and, according to ESPN's Todd McShay, they'll use the 21st pick on Smith.
Kansas City needs a pass-rusher opposite Tamba Hali and Smith is one of the more underrated players in this draft. He's a little undersized for a 4-3 end but is a perfect fit at outside linebacker in the Chiefs' 3-4 defense.
This makes some sense for the Chiefs but there's always some unknown when you're switching a guy who usually plays with his hand on the ground to a stand-up linebacker. Smith, though, has shown he's athletic enough to make that switch so I don't think that's a big concern. He has some versatility which could work in his favor if the Chiefs take a look at him.
Pass-rusher makes a lot of sense for the Chiefs and I'm sure they'll have their eye on a few guys like Smith.
Other mock drafts have Smith going No. 11 to the Houston Texans.
The 2011 NFL mock draft process is still in its early stages but it appears one of the popular picks in the early goings is Missouri Tigers DE Aldon Smith to the Houston Texans at the 11th overall pick in the draft. This would be a good fit for both Smith and Houston, who already has pass rusher Brian Cushing in the fold. Here's what Mocking The Draft said:
Houston is in the same spot as Dallas. The Texans have big needs at both safety spots but none are worth the pick. Miami cornerback Brandon Harris could get a look here, but this would be a touch high for him. Smith would give the Texans an excellent pass rushing option opposite Brian Cushing.
I think Smith could make a transition to outside linebacker relatively easily. Both positions (pass rusher) are valuable so it wouldn't affect his draft status one way or the other.
Smith had 11 sacks in 2009 but just six last season as he suffered from a leg injury causing him to miss time.
Check out Rock M Nation for more on Aldon Smith.
The Missouri Tigers are losing a couple of players to the 2011 NFL draft and both are expected to be first round picks. QB Blaine Gabbert exits early and he could go in the top 10 while DE Aldon Smith also declared and he's expected to go somewhere in the first round as well.
SB Nation's latest 2011 NFL mock draft has Smith going No. 11 to the Houston Texans.
Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri. When Wade Phillips was hired as Houston's new defensive coordinator, he spoke highly of the team's heart. Moving to a 3-4, however, will require some personnel tweaking, which makes fixing the league's worst pass defense a more difficult job. The raw, high-upside Smith would help both situations: he's athletic enough to play OLB in a 3-4, and an improved pass rush would help the beleaguered secondary.
Someone is going to fall in love with Smith because he's so athletic. He's definitely raw, as the mock draft points out, but he has the size and body that NFL teams love. Plus, he's shown he's capable of rushing the passer.
Smith is a riskier pick, I think, this high in the draft because there's more unknown to him. We'll see where the buzz is on him as the NFL Combine gets closer.