The Washington Post

Redskins’ draft prospects: Aldon Smith

With the first round of the NFL Draft slated to begin Thursday night, we’ll take a look this week at the prospects the Redskins could be targeting with the 10th overall pick and gauge the likelihood of each landing in Washington. Check back all week for updates.

Player: Defensive end/linebacker Aldon Smith, Missouri

Basics:Smith, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 258 pounds, played just two seasons of college ball but made quite an impact for the Tigers, tallying 17 total sacks as a freshman and sophomore. He has a quick first step and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds at the combine. Though he played defensive end in college, he’ll likely play outside linebacker in the NFL.

Why he might fit: The Redskins, owners of the 31st-ranked defense in the NFL last year, had very little pressure opposite Brian Orakpo and crave another pass-rusher. While they have problems with their front three, Jim Haslett’s best defenses featured at least two players who could rush the edge. Smith is not seasoned, but he has raw skills and has impressed talent evaluators. He could contribute as a rookie and could be a star in Year 2.

Why he might not: Smith is not nearly as polished as Orakpo was coming out of college and coaches might prefer to upgrade the offense with their first-round pick. Though he’s a playmaker, many project him as a mid-first rounder and the Redskins might be reaching to nab him at No. 10.

Likelihood Redskins draft him (scale of 1 to 10): 3. If the Redskins want a pass-rusher with the No. 10 pick, there’s a good chance they can get someone who’s a bit more polished and NFL-ready. But if they like Smith’s raw skills, the tandem of Orakpo and Smith could prove to be a formidable duo for years to come.

Rick Maese is a sports features writer for The Washington Post.



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