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March 9, 2011 @ 9:06 am
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Pewter Prospect: DE Aldon Smith

Written by Charlie
Aldon Smith vs. Colorado YouTube.com
Charlie Campbell


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FREE PROFILE! Do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a need for an athletic pass rusher? How would DE Aldon Smith fit in Tampa Bay? What areas does Smith need to improve in? Find out in this Pewter Prospect Profile.
These prospect profiles are a regular feature for Pewter Insiders. To become an insider click here.

All right, draftniks. You know that Pewter Report is the undisputed king of Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft coverage. We’ve listed players, such as wide receiver Mike Williams (2010), wide receiver Arrelious Benn (2010), defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (2010), quarterback Josh Freeman (2009), wide receiver Dexter Jackson (2008), offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah (2008), quarterback Josh Johnson (2008), defensive end Gaines Adams (2007), linebacker Quincy Black (2007), wide receiver Maurice Stovall (2006), quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (2006), middle linebacker Barrett Ruud (2005), cornerback Torrie Cox (2003) – among others, at their respective positions in the Bucs’ Best Bets sections of Pewter Report’s annual Bucs Draft Preview.

As the 2011 NFL Draft approaches, Pewter Report’s resident draft experts, Scott Reynolds and Charlie Campbell, have spent countless hours watching over 12 college games per week and scouting which prospects would look good wearing red and pewter next year. With over 500 college games to review dating back over the last four years and countless scouting contacts throughout the NFL, Reynolds and Campbell are armed with the inside scoop needed to put together these scouting reports on players who might fit Tampa Bay’s schemes on offense and defense.

These regular Pewter Prospect profiles on PewterReport.com will scout out players that are candidates for the Buccaneers to select in next April's draft. Pewter Report's predictions of who the Bucs will take will be in the Bucs' Best Bets in the digital Bucs Draft Preview magazine and the Bucs 7 Round Mock Draft on the website.

Will one of these players wind up being the next Barrett Ruud, Mike Williams or Josh Johnson? We’ll all find out next April when Tampa Bay is on the clock.

VITAL STATS: The Missouri Tigers standout Smith checks in at 6-foot-5, 260-pounds. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. Smith had 20 reps on the 225-pound bench press. 

In Smith’s brief collegiate career he established himself as a pass rushing force in the Big 12. As a red-shirt freshman in 2009, Smith totaled 64 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss, five passes batted, one forced fumble, and 11.5 sacks. Last year Smith played in nine games after missing a few games in the middle of the season with a broken fibula. Smith finished out the year in the lineup and recorded 48 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss, one interception, and 5.5 sacks. Smith was a consensus Freshman All-American for his 2009 season.

The biggest need on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster is at the defensive end position. Starters Stylez White and Tim Crowder are free agents and may not be re-signed. Holdovers Michael Bennett, Alex Magee, and Kyle Moore are all expected to compete for roster spots and roles on the defense, but Tampa Bay does not have definite starters at either left or right end entering the 2011 offseason. The Bucs are believed to be targeting defensive end with their first-round pick. The Buccaneers badly need an edge rusher to force quarterbacks to step up towards pass rushing defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. The last double-digit sack season for a Bucs player came in 2005 with Simeon Rice.

Smith is this year’s Jason Pierre-Paul type prospect, a superb athlete that has a lot of question marks surrounding him. The difference between Smith and JPP is that Smith produced more at the college level. 

There is no doubt that Smith has the explosive first step, athleticism, and pure speed to excel at the NFL level. At the same time so have many first round busts in years past. Smith’s 2009 season and skill set makes him a first round prospect that could turn into one of the NFL’s better pass rushers.

Smith also has the frame to get bigger and add more strength. That, with good coaching on technique, could turn Smith into a quality run defender. At Missouri Smith was a pass rushing specialist more than anything else.

Smith has very quick get-off when the ball is snapped, and his elite first-step quickness puts offensive linemen at a real disadvantage. Smith is adept at using his speed to beat tackles around the edge and turn to the quarterback. While it is hard to judge based on college evaluation alone, Smith looks like he has the natural agility to sink his hips and shoulder to get pointed to the quarterback and finish off his rushes by getting to the passer. He has fantastic cutting ability with sudden stop and start speed that makes him very difficult to block. With the proper coaching, time to develop, and patience from an organization Smith could develop into a true threat as a right defensive end pass rusher.

In the Buccaneers defensive system Smith would be a good fit. His skill set would make him the Bucs most talented defensive end and probably the starting right defensive end immediately. 

At Missouri Smith would rush from the defensive tackle position in certain situations. It wasn’t just a gimmick as Smith gave guards a lot of trouble in pass protection. He probably wouldn’t be called on to do that in Tampa Bay due to the Bucs already having McCoy and Price, but that kind of versatility will appeal to Bucs head coach and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

There are a lot of question marks surrounding Smith entering the draft. Smith started playing football late, and there are many that are concerned that Smith doesn’t love playing football and is only playing for the money. The questions surrounding Smith’s motivations and his work ethic were definitely scrutinized by teams at the combine.

As a player Smith needs a lot of development as well. After watching tapes of his game he clearly needs to work on his technique in run defense. He gets pushed around too easily. Smith needs to develop more football functional strength to fight NFL offensive linemen. His modest combine bench press is an indicator of that. 

Smith also needs work on his pass rushing moves. Right now he is too reliant on his superb speed and athleticism. That alone won’t make Smith an effective pass rusher. Smith needs to work on a rip move, spin move, and hand shedding technique.

Medically Smith is going to have his leg examined thoroughly to make sure that he is not a candidate to re-fracture the fibula.

11/13/10 vs. Kansas State 3 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass batted
10/23/10 vs. Oklahoma 2 tackles, 1 interception returned 58 yards
10/31/09 at Colorado 5 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 3 sacks, 1 pass batted
10/24/09 vs. Texas 11 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks
9/25/09 at Nevada 7 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

Smith is considered to be a mid first-round pick at this time.

In the highlight video above you can see Smith go up against a likely first-rounder in Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder. Smith had a massive game.

Kentucky RB Derrick Locke

North Carolina DE Robert Quinn

Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn

Wisconsin TE Lance Kendricks

Georgia DE/OLB Justin Houston

Florida G Mike Pouncey

North Carolina LB Bruce Carter

North Carolina State LB Nate Irving

Florida State G Rodney Hudson

Mississippi State OT Derek Sherrod

Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan

Florida S Ahmad Black

Oklahoma State RB Kendall Hunter

Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara
Last modified on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 09:19

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    Comments? My online Mock draft:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Rd 1: RYAN KERRIGAN DE PURDUE - traded the 3rd and Ruud to get him ................................... Rd 2: BRUCE CARTER OLB UNC - best all around LB in the draft ......................................... Rd 4: AHMED BLACK S UF - got this pick in Kerrigan-Ruud trade. Great value in rd 4, had to take him ...................................................... Rd 4: NATE IRVING MLB NCST - Will fight with McKenzie to be Ruud's long term replacement................................................... Rd 4: DEMARCUS LOVE OT ARK - Got the pick from trading Josh Johnson to 49ers ................................................. Rd 5: RICKY ELMORE DE AZ - Wanted Romeus but gone in third. Elmore is a fast high motor guy who makes plays in the backfiled .......................................................... Rd 6: DERRICK LOCKE RB KENTUCKY - Huggins replcement as change of pace guy. Huggins injury update is looking bad ...................................................... Rd7: Have not picked yet, targeting a QB (Tyrod Taylor as a project backup maybe)
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    Personally, I like Kerrigan AND Clayborn better. I like guys that have more moves and a little more polish and extremely high motors. Smith seems extremely one dimensional. Doesn't mean he won't develop into and phenom, but we have already seen the impatience of Bucs fans. Half of them werer jumping all over McCoy after he played 6 games. Not saying that is a reason not to draft him, I just think he will take some time and he has not always shown a good consistent high motor. Ideally, they would land Quinn, that's not happening.................... KERRIGAN - Clayborn - JJ WATT.............................................. I'd shoot for Greg Romeus in round 3.
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    Jdouble: I think you're right about Smith's lack of explosiveness off the ball. I watched a few youtube videos on him, and there wasn't a single example of him even executing a pure speed rush (a four or so yard sprint behind the tackle's initial alignment with, ideally, a dip and rip finish around the edge). That made me wonder as to whether or not he has the explosiveness to execute this move effectively in the NFL, and--in my opinion--a player with his physical make-up really needs the threat of the pure speed rush to have a dominant pass rush; furthermore, his forty time didn't do anything to quell my concerns. JG: I saw Smith make some fantastic plays on the interior line (though they may have been different from what you saw), but I didn't think they indicated in any way that he had great strength. What I saw from him in this alignment was great athleticism; he used a shake-in-the-hole and slap move on the Guard, overwhelming the Guard with his foot and hand quickness (helped by his extremely long arms). In fact, almost everyone of his successful pass rushes I've seen involve some sort of slap of the lineman's hands, frequently using the stutter-step/shake-in-hole technique. If this is representative of his whole body of work, then it raises questions for me because the whole dancing-at-the-line technique is unlikely to be successful in the NFL (especially as a primary rush) because a) the OL have longer arms and b) they use less aggressive, more controlled, lowered hand strikes than what the college OL were giving him. What I took as impressive from this, however, was the incredible hand athleticism he has and--of course--the freakish length of his arms. Kerrigan, in my opinion, seems like the safer choice of the two but is the one with the lower ceiling as well. From the few clips I've seen and his combine workout, I imagine him topping out as a Justin Smith (Univ. Missouri, Bengals) type player, which would be nice but as a ceiling leaves much to be desired from a first round pick.
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    I'm on board the Aldon Smith train. This guy look incredible!
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    Happy ya'll posting tape of players - why didn't ya'll do that for everyone?
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    All of these if's on all of these possible projects and unknown potential just keep me coming back to the fact that we need to do whatever we have to to get Kerrigan. He will be a high motor consistent guy that has "potential" to be great but the difference between him and most of these other guys is that if he doesn't become the next greatest pass rusher ever, he will still be a reliable guy that will give you everything he has and be really good. He wont be a make it or break it guy like so many other defensive ends are. If you put Kerrigan along the line with McCoy and Price, give them a couple years and they will be an unstoppable line for years... With how well we did on offense last year and how much better they will still get I would have no problem with us spending almost every pick on DE's and LB's and bring em all in and find our future...
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    Watch all the tape you can find on this kid and focus on his initial burst. He has none. He's athletic and does well in space, but his get off is very slow. As an undersized speed rushing DE you have to have that initial quickness to beat the LT or you will get manhandled. I think he'll make a good 3-4 OLB but struggle as a 4-3 DE.
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    If the Bucs would spend some money and pick up Justin Babin from the Titans, the draft would be a lot easier!
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    There may be a lot of DEs in this draft, but it sounds like there is a lot of risk in picking many of them. We're going to have to depend on the Bucs Brain Trust to do their due diligence and get it right the first time - we can't afford another Gaines Adams.
  • avatar

    Update- In my post I meant to say Ricky Elmore not Brooks Reed, they are similiar in playing style and number, I always get them confused
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    Why the more I hear about this kid the more I think Gaines Adams?
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    Another tidbit on Aldon Smith .. He never completed a full year in any sport until basically his Junior year of highschool .. That worries me
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    Completely agree with you jongruden on Brooks Reed hope that he gets some serious consideration by the Bucs brass during this draft. Also I would point out that his line mate Ricky Elmore is a pretty good pass rusher with 11.5 sacks in 2010 which lead the team. However, I completely disagree on Cameron Jordan, he's production was limited because of how Cal used him which was all over the line. He played almost every position on the line and had no true home. Cal just doesn't know how to use their D-linemen effectively see Tyson Alualu for a prime example of that.
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    I'd pass on this guy. He's a "playa" not a "player" as Gruden would say. I can hear him now saying about Gaines, "I want him to lead the league in effort." That could never be said about Kerrigan.
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    Why does everywhere else say Smith had 4.5 sacks on the year .. CMON MAN
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    I like JDouble and BucJoe have seen alot of youtube highlights on this kid so let me tell you what I saw. I think the kid reminds you of Simeon Rice in his stature and style of play with his lean body and quickness off the edge. I was really impressed that he has alot of qb pressures from the 3-technique of the line which shows you he can be strong enough going against lineman at the point of attack. He has awesome sideline to sideline speed much like Bowers he can chase a RB down in a second. The kid is raw as CC pointed out in this article I don't see him beating people with any kind of special moves except with his elite athleticsm, which worries me a bit, but overall I think he is worth the 20th pick. I would still draft Kerrigan over him if they are both available. My wish list for the #20 pick in this order is based on the possible players available 1. Kerrigan 2. Aldon Smith 3. Cameron Heyward 4. JJ Watt 5. Joustin Houston Sleeper for later rounds is Brooks Reed he is a high motor guy who has averaged double digit sacks every yr at AZ Guys I would stay away from are Cameron Jordon- Have seen alot of Cal Games living in the west I see alot of Pac Ten Games the guy just doesn't do anything special. Adrian Clayborne- Small arms and doesn't have quick enough burst for a DE for me. Pouncey- because a guard does nothing for us to improve our pass rush Sorry Horse
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