|Aldon Smith DE Missouri|
|Elite athlete for his size. A quick, shifty player who can slide through gaps in the offensive line to get into the backfield consistently. Quick off the snap; an elite edge rusher. Excellent speed for a lineman, capable of making plays in pursuit. Some experience dropping into zone coverage.|
|Suffered a broken leg in 2010. Limited experience; only a redshirt sophomore. Tall and lanky; doesn’t have a great build but does have the frame to add weight. Lacks the strength, specifically lower body strength, to hold up at the point of attack against the run. Gets engulfed by bigger, more physical run-blocking lineman.|
|Smith has as much upside as anyone in this year’s class due to his size and athleticism. He’s a candidate to switch to outside linebacker in a 3-4 system, or he could stay at end in a 4-3, making him attractive to all 32 teams. The potential is there for him to develop into the next Terrell Suggs. However, he isn’t nearly as strong as Suggs at this point in his career, and early on Smith will be a liability against the run. He isn’t an every-down player at this point, which limits his immediate value, but if he falls into the second half of the 1st round or into the 2nd round he could be a steal. He’s a boom-or-bust prospect, its just a matter of when you’re willing to take the risk.|
Missouri juniors Blaine Gabbert and Aldon Smith have filed their paperwork with the NFL Draft advisory committee.
Both have potential 1st-round ability, but I would be moderately surprised if either entered the draft. Missouri is coming off a surprisingly successful season, and could legitimately compete for a Big 12 title in 2010.
Additionally, both players still have a lot to prove in the college ranks.
Gabbert is a tremendously talented quarterback, but I believe he would get lost in the mix in this year’s draft. Assuming Andrew Luck, Ryan Mallett and Cam Newton all enter the draft, Gabbert could fall a long ways. By returning to school, he could elevate his stock to 1st-round status in 2012.
As for Smith, he is coming off a somewhat disappointing, injury-plagued season. He missed three games with a broken leg, and only recored 4.5 sacks – seven fewer than his total in 2009.