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.