|NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Missouri DE/OLB Aldon Smith||02.21.11 at 6:36 pm ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2011 NFL draft.
Position: Defensive end/outside linebacker
Weight: 260 pounds
Achievements: First Team All-Big 12 (2010)
What he brings: Smith surprised some by leaving school early for the draft. Many analysts think he could’ve used another year in school to bulk up, develop more moves on the pass rush and enter next year’s draft as a top-10 talent. Despite that, most of them are still projecting him to go in the middle of the first round because of his upside. Smith registered 19 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks last season and is lauded for his great burst off the line of scrimmage and ability to get to the quarterback quickly.
Where the Patriots could get him: No. 17, No. 28
Notes: Smith has been labeled a ‘tweener because he isn’t quite strong enough yet to line up as a down lineman in the NFL, but he doesn’t have any experience as a stand-up outside linebacker. Although it certainly seems like he has the tools to be an effective pass rusher in a 3-4 scheme like the Patriots’, the fact that he’s never had to drop back in coverage certainly raises some questions about whether or not he could be an every-down linebacker.
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