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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Chargers Possible Home For Aldon Smith With Pass Rush Need

With the latest two-round mock from Greg Cox over at 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.