Mizzou’s Aldon Smith: Raw Talent with Huge Upside

March 16, 2011 | Brian Billick

Aldon Smith out of Missouri reminds me of John Abraham of the Atlanta Falcons.  Right now, he is a hybrid OLB/DE, but I believe he will be better off adding a couple of pounds and becoming a full-time End.  He is a raw talent that is still learning the game, but his 17 sacks in 23 games make him an attractive prospect.

Statistically, he had a more impressive 2009 season with 11.5 sacks and 46 tackles.  Smith uses his length in the pass rush game to interrupt passing lanes and hold off lineman trying to get into his chest.  He has the agility to keep his feet when opponents attempt to cut block him and shuffles down the line to stay involved in the play.  Even with is 17 career sacks, Smith did not just play a “sick-em” role for Mizzou’s defense.  He stayed stout in the run game and often took on pulling guards to clog up the hole.  He shows good awareness and a feel for where the ball is at all time – which is scary considering he is coming out as redshirted Sophomore.  In the Oklahoma game, you see Smith’s overall athleticism on display when he intercepts a pass and returns it 58 yards.

With an early run on defensive lineman in this year’s draft, look for Aldon Smith to go anywhere between 10-20 overall.