Missouri sophomore defensive end Aldon Smith enters the 2011 NFL Draft as one of the top pass rushers available. He will likely be converted to outside linebacker in the NFL as a 3-4 pass-rush specialist. Smith is raw and will need some time to develop, but the sky is the limit.
In 2009, Smith racked up 60 total stops and 11.0 sacks. He played injured throughout most of the 2010 season, logging only 6.0 sacks and 48 tackles while missing three games because of a broken leg.
- Size (6-foot-4, 258) and speed combo makes for a perfect rush linebacker
- Extremely tough - played just three weeks after fracturing his right fibula and finished out the season on a healing leg
- Strong bull rush
- Powerful hands with a violent punch move
Versatile - 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker
3-4 OLB star in the making?
- Experienced dropping into coverage
- Disengages blocks effectively
- Lateral speed to chase down the ball carrier
- Upside - only four years total of football experience
- Long arms - wingspan allows him to make reaching tackles and deflect passes
- Sometimes slow to diagnose play
- Skinny legs - lacks lower-body driving power
- Overly reliant on raw athleticism
- Needs to become a more consistent tackler - not much of a form tackler
- Doesn't always play with a high motor
Expected draft placement
Simply because of his upside and the premium placed on players in Smith's mold, he will be a midrange first-round choice in April. We feel he could go as high as the Houston Texans (No. 11). They are switching to a 3-4 alignment, and Smith could remind new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips of the success DeMarcus Ware had in this same system with the Dallas Cowboys.
While that may be a tad high for Smith, other teams that could be interested are the New England Patriots (No. 17), San Diego Chargers (No. 18), Kansas City Chiefs (No. 21) and Baltimore Ravens (No. 26). It is unlikely Smith falls beyond the Ravens, but if he does, the Patriots (No. 28) have another crack at him, and the New York Jets (No. 30) could enter the fray .
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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