Pass Rush Skills: An athletic freak that possesses tremendous quickness and lateral movement. Proves to be a huge problem for linemen, because of his ability to quickly perform inside moves and bounce inside or outside effortlessly on stunts. Has an explosive first step and shows good flexibility. Displays a very good club and arm over move. His club is extremely powerful and can knock linemen off of balance. Doesn’t often attempt to flatten out and bend the corner. Is frequently in the backfield and causes a lot of disruption. Constantly forces the quarterback to make snappy decisions and hurry throws. Could get a little bit more violent with his hands. Needs to develop some counter moves. Comes out of his stance high on occasion.
Versus the run: Surprisingly stout against the run. Even with his tall and lean frame, he finds a way to extend his arms and get underneath linemen’s pads. Does a nice job of stringing plays out to the sideline, forcing ball carriers back inside. Stacks and sheds blockers effectively. Keeps linemen away from his feet and shows good balance. Can play sideline to sideline. Has the speed and agility to make plays on the opposite hash. Shows excellent closing burst. Protects from the cutback and sets the edge well. Tends to stand up and play high. Needs to work his hands activity. Also, needs to do a better job of coming under control and securing the tackle. Is only a sophomore and his body is still developing. Frame has room for growth.
Versatility: Very athletic. Was recruited as a tight end as well as a defensive end. Played all four defensive line positions at Missouri, but is not big enough to do that at the next level. Possesses the size to play defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level. Has shown the ability to stand up and play in underneath zone. Is a little stiff in the hips, but moves fluidly.
Instincts/Motor: Still developing his instincts. With only two years of college ball under his belt, he will continue to grow. Even at this point, he recognizes the run well. Reads plays quickly and attacks them down hill. Shows the ability to read screen plays. Very good motor, especially when rushing the passer. Motor tends to wane a little when trailing the play.
Intangibles: BIG 12 1st Team AP All-American. BIG 12 2009 Freshman of the Year. Good kid on and off the field.
Overall Stock: Aldon Smith lacks experience. After two seasons of playing collegiately, he has decided to enter the draft. While his skills and instincts are raw, Smith has shown the propensity to get after the quarterback. His quickness and ability to move laterally is amazing for a guy his size. He has a lot to offer a NFL team. Smith is the kind of player that can develop into a premier pass rusher in the league. He also has the athleticism to stand up and play in the 3-4. There is a lot of upside to this young man. All expectations are that he will put up outstanding numbers at the combine. If he can stay focused throughout the offseason workouts and all star games, Smith could find himself shaking hands with the Commissioner in the first round.
NFL Comparisons: DeMarcus Ware and Jason Pierre-Paul