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.