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.