I didn’t want to be the first to bang this drum. I’ve learned my lesson. Get your hopes up with the NFL Draft, and your hopes will only burn you alive in a gas chamber of disappointment.
I didn’t want to be the man to make this argument. Such an argument would be met with the familiar cries of warning signs and doubt-casting.
I didn’t want to be the man to do this.
But the drum has started beating without me, people. And someone’s got to hold the drumsticks.
It might as well be yours truly.
The drum beats on, after the jump.
Two of the more respected mock drafters across the media spectrum, Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, two guys who have more insider access to NFL war rooms than anyone this side of Adam Schefter, have released three mock drafts in the past week.
How possible is it that Aldon Smith, the barely-mortal cyborg of lightning-fast physical punishment off the edges, could be a Kansas City Chief?
If most NFL teams love him as much as I do, not very.
But these are two guys with near impeccable sources all over the league. And Aldon Smith did not decimate the NFL Combine like many predicted, and has only a couple dozen games of college experience. It’s not inconceivable that he “falls” to #21. And the Chiefs interest in him goes back at least one full year, enough to take the time to bring in a teammate of his during draft season to inquire.
This is getting very hard to ignore, and impossible to blow off.
Now, you can probably hear the Big Matts of the world cast doubt on this selection, because Smith is a riskier pick than offensive tackles Derek Sherrod of Mississippi State or Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin. That’s a fair argument. You can also hear the Merlins of the world cast doubt because Aldon Smith fits the LOLB role that Tamba Hali already fulfills, rather than a more jack-of-all-trades role that the SOLB requires. Also fair.
But Smith has shown in his time at Missouri that he is more than capable of dropping back. Now he might not be a more ideal, younger version of Mike Vrabel, and he won’t be able to man the many responsibilities of the position like Akeem Ayers, but the value of a beast of a demon of a man terrorizing tackles that also have to concern themselves with Tamba Hali and an interior push from Glenn Dorsey and an improving Tyson Jackson is too great for a devotee to the Front Seven like GM Scott Pioli.
Skipping Tampa Bay, if we feel the need to do so, is about the easiest jump we can make. The Draft Value Chart, as I’ve written, argues that we’d only need to sacrifice our 4th rounder to trade up to #19 with the Giants. And the Giants, most likely in the hunt for one of several OL who will still be available or a linebacker of some sort, have completely different needs than Tampa, giving them little concern to drop back a couple spots, scoring a midrounder in the process.
And, might I add, we’d still have our six other selections from which we can flesh out our WR corps, center and nose tackle…
The drumbeat’s deafening at this point. Can anybody else hear it?
Edit: Double D raises an excellent point in comments: Hali’s impending contract negotiations. With Hali expecting big money in his next contract, Pioli could use Aldon Smith as a way to decrease some of the leverage that Hali will no doubt impose come contract time.