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Potential Texan: 2011 NFL Draft Player Preview – Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

The past few players chosen for draft profiles (Cameron Jordan & J.J. Watt) didn't generate much interest from the users here on BRB this week. But one that has been getting a lot of mention in said posts was Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith.

Be it positive or negative, people seem to feel strongly about the young man. With that said, let's go ahead and jump into today's player preview.

Though the term is vastly overused, the word "beast" is often used when mentioning Aldon Smith. He's a big dude at 6'4" and 263 pounds. He has ridiculous speed for a guy his size (4.74 in the 40), and he's hard to stop coming off the edge. He earned Big 12 first-team All-American honors last season and compiled 17 sacks in two seasons with the Tigers.

Mike Mayock, whose opinion many here respect, loves this kid and says that he could end up becoming the "star of this draft." Mayock, as well as NFL scouts, cite his foot speed and burst as reasons his potential is through the roof. Especially for teams running a 3-4. Others have said that in his Senior Bowl performance in that defensive set, he just looked lost.

His pass rushing ability is said to be ridiculous. An "athletic freak" who has tremendous quickness and lateral movement. His ability to perform quick, inside moves and shift inside or outside on stunts proved to be a problem for linemen his sophomore season at Mizzou.

He has also been said to be stout against the run. He sheds linemen effectively and keeps tacklers away from his feet with his good balance. His versatility is vast, too, as he played all four positions on the defensive line. While right now he isn't big enough to do that at the next level, he still has yet to grow into his body.

I think Patrick summed it up well in our last podcast when he said that Aldon Smith was the epitome of a "project player." His ceiling is extremely high and he could end up being a stud in Wade Phillips' system. But at #11, that might be a little too high for a player considered by most to be a work in progress. After Kareem Jackson last year, many still believe the team is looking for more of a safe pick/sure thing in the first round, which is what makes me believe if Robert Quinn is already off the board, they will go with Cameron Jordan before Aldon Smith. No real reason to back that up other than most scouts feel that Jordan is more "NFL ready," while Aldon needs some polish.

Smith could be a home run or he could be a botched suicide squeeze. But that seems to be the case with most first-rounders, doesn't it? It wouldn't shock me if he was the Texans pick at #11. Not at all. But if Quinn or Jordan are there, I think that is the direction the team ultimately goes before Smith.  No fan should be crying into their beer and pretzels on draft day should Smith be the pick...unless they pass on Quinn to take him. Then the Clorox smoothie machine might start warming up. Check his highlights below.

What do you guys think about taking Smith at #11? Would you rather have Quinn or Jordan over him?