2015 NFL DRAFT
player photo

Aldon Smith

| | College: Missouri
 
Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange
Overview

Smith has a knack for getting to the quarterback, a skill he's known was in his arsenal since his days as a first-team all-state defensive end for Raytown High School in Missouri.

"I think my first sack," Smith said at the scouting combine when asked when he first realized he could really get after quarterbacks. "My coach just kind of yelled at me and let me know everything. He pulled me aside after my first game and told me I had a little special ability."

Smith committed to Missouri shortly after watching the Tigers beat rival Nebraska in a raucous Faurot Field. He turned down scholarship offers from the Cornhuskers, Kansas and Kansas State, among others.

After redshirting in 2008, Smith earned Big 12 Defensive Newcomer and Freshman of the Year honors the following year by setting a single-season school record with 11.5 sacks. He had 19 tackles for loss and 64 tackles overall.

Smith got off to a slow start in 2010, including missing three games with a fractured right fibula. But he return with a big splash, snagging a big interception in the Tigers' upset over then-No. 1 Oklahoma. He finished the season with 48 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

Smith surprised many in the scouting community when he chose to leave Missouri after his redshirt sophomore season, and scouts remain divided on the rather raw prospect. He hasn't filled out his frame, and his lack of ideal strength was evident as he lifted 225 pounds just 20 times at the combine. Smith also posted disappointing short-shuttle (4.50) and 3-cone drill (7.19) times - two important agility tests.

One scout for an NFL team that uses a 3-4 scheme told NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Rob Rang that Smith had an excellent pro day workout and could be an explosive pass rusher once he "grows into his body." Another scout from a 4-3 team was concerned about Smith's change of direction ability and said he'll be drafted early based primarily on his 2009 game film.

Smith has very limited experience playing in a 3-4, but said he believes he has athleticism and versatility to be effective in either scheme.

"I've done a lot of work with (the 3-4) since I got out of college. I think the more I do it, the more comfortable I get," Smith said. "Something a lot of people don't know about me is that I can stop the run. I can help out in that area, too."

Analysis

Pass rush: Great length and upper-body development with room to grow and become a top-notch pass rusher. When given the green light to attack the passer, he is able to turn the corner or quickly go outside-in to get a more direct path to the QB. Uses strength to get movement in his bull rush; able to release with his hands to harass a scrambling passer. Moves inside to a three-technique spot on some plays to take advantage of his quickness, as well as his height, to disrupt passing lanes (seven pass breakups in 2009-2010). Jumps over and uses his hands to beat cut blocks.

Run defense: Potentially strong edge run defender as 4-3 end or 3-4 linebacker. Stays balanced out of his stance, extends his arms to keep distance, able to shed to get to the ball on either side of the block. Good backfield awareness. Willing to lower his shoulder and stand his ground against pulling guards and moving tight ends. Gets down the line while engaged to be involved on inside runs. Beats reach blocks to get into the backfield.

Explosion: Still more potential than practice as a pure outside pass rusher, but shows glimpses of explosive ability on the edge. Pops his man with big swipes to get past blockers. Brings a punch in his bull rush, sometimes knocking back even strong college tackles.

Strength: Plays stronger than his height/weight numbers indicate. Does not give up room when holding the line. Violent with his hands, able to push aside blockers when rushing the passer or shedding to chase ballcarriers. Still requires time in pro strength and conditioning to gain 15-20 pounds before becoming a three-down player as a 4-3 defensive end.

Tackling: Uses his long, strong arms to wrap up quarterbacks and ballcarriers in the backfield; can chop down hard to force fumbles. Speedy chase tackler who closes well for his size due to that length, hustle, and straight-line speed. Misses tackles when leaving his feet early or short-arming (ducking his head and not fully extending.)

Intangibles: Right fibula fractured against San Diego State in October 2010; fracture was high enough above ankle and below the knee so it could heal on its own without surgery. Returned just three weeks later and played hurt for the rest of the season. Only a redshirt sophomore, which is a positive given his upside, but some might view as negative given his relative lack of experience.

Compares to: Jarvis Moss, Raiders -- Scouts figured Moss' length and speed off the edge would be difficult for offensive tackles to handle, and despite his uneven career to date, will value Smith's similar build because of the importance of pass rushers.

--Chad Reuter

2010 Season

His 2010 season was hampered by a leg injury which kept him out of three games in the first half of the year, but he returned in time to grab a key interception in his first game back against #1-ranked Oklahoma which helped Mizzou post a 36-27 win over the Sooners in Columbia. In 10 games in 2010, Smith had 48 total tackles, including 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 quarterback sacks.

2009 Season

Did not disappoint whatsoever in his first year seeing the field, as he won numerous prestigious awards, including Big 12 Defensive Newcomer and Freshman of the Year (in unanimous fashion), as well as being named a 1st-Team Freshman All-American, thanks to his monster season which included 64 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and an MU single-season record 11.5 quarterback sacks … Finished the year ranked 9th in the NCAA in sacks (0.88 per game) and 14th in tackles for loss (1.46 per game) … Showed he had the ability to make huge plays at anytime, as evidenced by his play against rival Kansas, when he came up with two of the bigger plays in the ballgame in the 4th quarter after being shutout in the first 3 quarters of play … Had only 2 tackles versus Kansas, but both came in crunch time, with the first coming on a sack on 3rd down deep in MU territory to force a field goal (it was his 11th sack of the season which tied him for the school record along with Justin Smith in 2000) … The second huge play came with MU trailing 39-36 late in the game, when he teamed with Brian Coulter to record a safety of KU's Todd Reesing, which pulled MU to within one point with 2:45 left, and led to Mizzou's subsequent drive, which ended in a game-winning field goal … Playing in his first game at Missouri, made six tackles (three solos, three assists) against Illinois … Three of his six tackles went for a loss, including one sack of UI's Juice Williams for a loss of four yards.

Recorded five tackles against Bowling Green, which included a key sack (for a loss of 18 yards) late in the fourth quarter … Made two tackles against Furman and added two pass break-ups … Had a then-career-best seven tackles against Nevada, five of which were solo stops … Had one sack against the Wolf Pack … Made four tackles in the conference opener against Nebraska and had three stops at Oklahoma State … Had a big night against Texas on Oct. 24, tying for the team lead with career-high 11 tackles (all 11 were solo stops) … Had four TFLs against UT, including two sacks … Made five tackles against Colorado, four of which were TFLs … Had three sacks in the win over the Buffs, for a loss of 27 yards … Also recovered a fumble in the win at CU … Made five tackles (all solo), including two TFLs (for a loss of 13 yards) against Baylor … Had one sack, his ninth of the year, against the Bears … Made six tackles against Kansas State, including two TFLs (for a loss of 12 yards) … Recorded his 10th sack of the season in the win over KSU … Made three tackles against Iowa State on Nov. 21 … Ended the season with a 5-tackle performance against Navy, which included a half-sack to give him sole possession of the MU single-season sacks record, at 11.5 … Closed down the spring by making 4 tackles in the annual spring scrimmage that was won by the Tiger defense.

2008 Season

Redshirted in his first year in the Tiger program, but constantly earned attention for his outstanding athleticism and play on the defensive line … Was a frequent disruptive force in practice as part of the defensive scout team, playing against the top-line offenses throughout the year … Won the team's defensive Back-Up Player of the Week award for his work in practice during preparations for the season-opening win over Illinois.

Injury Report

2010: A fractured right fibula in October didn't require surgery, but sidelined Smith for three games.

Agility Tests

Combine: 4.70 40-yard dash; 20 bench reps at 225 pounds; 9'10" broad jump; 34-inch vertical; 4.50 short shuttle; 7.19 3-cone drill.

High School

Highly-touted athlete who ranked as the No. 5 overall prospect (any position) in the state of Missouri, as well as the No. 27 strongside defensive end in the nation, according to Rivals … Scout ranked him as the state's No. 7 overall prospect (any position) … Named an all-midwest region defensive lineman by PrepStar … Committed to Mizzou immediately following Mizzou's impressive 41-6 win over Nebraska on Oct. 6th, and cited the outstanding fan support and atmosphere at Faurot Field as a big factor … Was a 1st-Team All-State selection for Raytown as a senior defensive end in 2007, as he registered 60 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, and 12 QB sacks, while adding 7 forced fumbles, 1 blocked punt and 1 safety … Won his team's defensive MVP honors while serving as a team captain during his senior season … Also stood out on offense, as he caught 34 passes for 570 yards and 4 TDs as a tight end … Was a Buck Buchanan Award finalist as a senior, as well … Named 1st-Team All-Conference as a junior in 2006, when he made 49 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss, and added 18 catches for 285 yards and 3 TDs on offense … Standout in the sport of basketball who won 1st-Team All-Conference honors on the hardcourt … High school coach - Ken Clemons.

Personal

Parents - Thurston Smith & Kimberly Smith … Has an interest of studying in MU's College of Business, with a plan to major in the real estate program … Lists video games, sports, swimming, traveling and listening to music as his primary hobbies … Cited the family-like atmosphere presented to him by both Mizzou's coaching staff and the players as well as the nice athletics and campus facilities as a major reason for his attraction to the school … Chose Mizzou over Nebraska, Kansas and Kansas State, among many others.

 
 
 

CBSSports.com Shop

Fantasy Games