New head coach of the San Francisco 49ers Jim Harbaugh takes DE/OLB Aldon Smith (Missouri) with the 7th pick . The 49ers can really use a great pass rusher. The 49ers haven’t had a double digit sack player since 2002. Smith is a great athlete who excels at rushing the quarterback. I really thought that Harbaugh would go after a quarterback here.
Aldon Smith opted to declare after a difficult and somewhat disappointing redshirt sophomore season. The long and lean pass rusher suffered a fractured fibula, which kept him out of a few games and forced him to play through pain. That said, the toughness he showed should earn him plaudits from NFL decision-makers, who’ll also appreciate his 35 3/8” vines for arms, strong hands, and good 1st step. While he hasn’t proven that he can consistently bend the edge as a pass rusher, Smith has shown the ability to beat offensive tackles both inside and out, and he does plenty of damage when he kicks inside on passing downs. Add in his unrefined but promising coverage skills, and you have a potential Justin Tuck-type player who can do everything at a very high but perhaps not elite level. In addition, Smith is athletic enough to make the transition to 3-4 outside linebacker, which will lead to him being in high demand on draft day. With a fairly good offseason, he’s solidified his status as a mid-1st round pick. His floor likely is going 20th overall to the Buccaneers, who won’t be able to pass on such an intriguing prospect.