A recent look back by ESPN's Mel Kiper re-ranks the 2011 NFL Draft class. For Chiefs fans, the news is not that good as lead pick Jon Baldwin is not listed anywhere, even among those candidates receiving an honorable mention. That said, Justin Houston made that section and is showing Chiefs fans that another elite pass rusher is on the way.
However the San Francisco 49ers are enjoying the spoils of their own choie from atop the first round at No. 7 in former Missouri linebacker/defensive end Aldon Smith. He made an instant impact for the 49ers defense as a feared pass rusher, and he's improving in his second season.
"Smith's draft position at No. 7 wasn't a surprise to me, but it's fair to say he was seen as an incomplete player with a tremendous amount of upside," writes Kiper. "I thought he'd come along slowly and be a significant pass-rush factor by the end of 2011.
"Instead, Smith showed he could be a feared pass-rusher immediately; he finished his rookie season with 14.5 sacks and is on an early pace to exceed that total in 2012. Smith is surrounded by significant talent, but his pace among the league's best pass-rushers is already set."
Smith has 19 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2012.