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Aldon Smith May Start Out As Nickel Rush Defensive End?

Originally posted by PiratePete:
CBS Sports draft analyst Rob Rang has "real reservations" about No. 7 overall pick Aldon Smith's fit in the 49ers' defense.Rang liked the fact that the 49ers drafted a pass rusher, but much preferred Smith as a 4-3 defensive end as opposed to a 3-4 outside 'backer. "Quite frankly," writes Rang, "I see Smith growing out of the position and struggling to put up the numbers expected of a player taken so high." Rang believes that the 21-year-old Smith will only get bigger, which won't help his already suspect change-of-direction skills and balance as a pass rusher.

I think its a valid point. I'm not sure it's accurate but it is valid.

Good quote but I don't believe this is valid. Aldon will NOT be covering so a "suspect change-of-direction" skill set is not required. Play recognition is...meaning, as he grows in this defense, he'll need to continue to pass rush en route to stopping the run from ALL over the field and learn to recognize screens quickly whereby a change of direction would be required (but rarely). That said, it WON'T be "in coverage." Fangio, like with the other three LBers and perhaps a DE from time to time will drop him back in a zone "area" for a second or two to create confusion for the QB but he will immediately pass him off to the next defender in the zone. We will not see a Lawson, LaBoy, Haralson, Brooks, et. al "covering" a guy and staying with him for 30-40 yards down the field anymore. Those days are over...

The transition will be relatively easy for him as well too as Fangio will ask him to pin his ears back and pass rush (how odd for an OLB in our 3-4 defense, eh?) so he'll be able to use his God-given abilities to do that right out of the gate! Later, he'll learn the intricacies of the position and the entire defense around him. I think Fangio will properly game-plan too to create mismatches with him by attacking weaknesses along the offensive line and naturally, move him all over the field to create said mismatches (think Clay Matthews).

[ Edited by NCommand on Jun 24, 2011 at 13:29:52 ]
Not sure you are interpreting that just right, NC... or else I am not.

Quote:
his already suspect change-of-direction skills and balance as a pass rusher.

To me, this quote doesn't necessarily refer to his coverage ability. As a more lean rush LB, he will have better COD and balance as he makes his initial moves and either counters or continues as he engages a blocker.

If Aldon grows into a 275- 280 lb rush LB, will he still be athletic enough to play the position effectively? Or would it limit the rush moves he has to offer? How many successful rush LBs have there been at that size?

... just something to think about.
Originally posted by oldman9er:
Not sure you are interpreting that just right, NC... or else I am not.

Quote:
his already suspect change-of-direction skills and balance as a pass rusher.

To me, this quote doesn't necessarily refer to his coverage ability. As a more lean rush LB, he will have better COD and balance as he makes his initial moves and either counters or continues as he engages a blocker.

If Aldon grows into a 275- 280 lb rush LB, will he still be athletic enough to play the position effectively? Or would it limit the rush moves he has to offer? How many successful rush LBs have there been at that size?

... just something to think about.

Good questions/points!

Hmmm, I doubt the coaches would let him get above 265 but really, pass rush is all about first step and initial burst and ability to keep your eyes on the QB while feeling your way around blocks and naturally, closing speed/quickness. Weight isn't much of an issue as many of the most effective OLBers are close to 270 anyways. He'll also be lining up inside on the d-line so I imagine 265-270 would help him stay stout. I do like his point about with age, gaining weight and unlike Lawson, he'll need to focus on cardio, first step and burst and maintaining his weight instead of trying to pack on as much as possible to play the position. We should revisit this one in a few years; could be intreresting.
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by oldman9er:
Not sure you are interpreting that just right, NC... or else I am not.

Quote:
his already suspect change-of-direction skills and balance as a pass rusher.

To me, this quote doesn't necessarily refer to his coverage ability. As a more lean rush LB, he will have better COD and balance as he makes his initial moves and either counters or continues as he engages a blocker.

If Aldon grows into a 275- 280 lb rush LB, will he still be athletic enough to play the position effectively? Or would it limit the rush moves he has to offer? How many successful rush LBs have there been at that size?

... just something to think about.

Good questions/points!

Hmmm, I doubt the coaches would let him get above 265 but really, pass rush is all about first step and initial burst and ability to keep your eyes on the QB while feeling your way around blocks and naturally, closing speed/quickness. Weight isn't much of an issue as many of the most effective OLBers are close to 270 anyways. He'll also be lining up inside on the d-line so I imagine 265-270 would help him stay stout. I do like his point about with age, gaining weight and unlike Lawson, he'll need to focus on cardio, first step and burst and maintaining his weight instead of trying to pack on as much as possible to play the position. We should revisit this one in a few years; could be intreresting.

Wade Phillips is trying to switch Mario Williams from 4-3 DE to 3-4 OLB, and he's around 300lb. Now he is also one of the biggest freaks in the NFL, but I think it goes along with what you were saying. A OLB in a 3-4 needs to have pass rush ability, his size isn't as much of a determining factor.
Originally posted by NinerBuff:
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by oldman9er:
Not sure you are interpreting that just right, NC... or else I am not.

Quote:
his already suspect change-of-direction skills and balance as a pass rusher.

To me, this quote doesn't necessarily refer to his coverage ability. As a more lean rush LB, he will have better COD and balance as he makes his initial moves and either counters or continues as he engages a blocker.

If Aldon grows into a 275- 280 lb rush LB, will he still be athletic enough to play the position effectively? Or would it limit the rush moves he has to offer? How many successful rush LBs have there been at that size?

... just something to think about.

Good questions/points!

Hmmm, I doubt the coaches would let him get above 265 but really, pass rush is all about first step and initial burst and ability to keep your eyes on the QB while feeling your way around blocks and naturally, closing speed/quickness. Weight isn't much of an issue as many of the most effective OLBers are close to 270 anyways. He'll also be lining up inside on the d-line so I imagine 265-270 would help him stay stout. I do like his point about with age, gaining weight and unlike Lawson, he'll need to focus on cardio, first step and burst and maintaining his weight instead of trying to pack on as much as possible to play the position. We should revisit this one in a few years; could be intreresting.

Wade Phillips is trying to switch Mario Williams from 4-3 DE to 3-4 OLB, and he's around 300lb. Now he is also one of the biggest freaks in the NFL, but I think it goes along with what you were saying. A OLB in a 3-4 needs to have pass rush ability, his size isn't as much of a determining factor.

No kidding? Wow, I didn't know that but man, imagine him at 280 and being freed up in a defense to attack. Impressive!
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by NinerBuff:
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by oldman9er:
Not sure you are interpreting that just right, NC... or else I am not.

Quote:
his already suspect change-of-direction skills and balance as a pass rusher.

To me, this quote doesn't necessarily refer to his coverage ability. As a more lean rush LB, he will have better COD and balance as he makes his initial moves and either counters or continues as he engages a blocker.

If Aldon grows into a 275- 280 lb rush LB, will he still be athletic enough to play the position effectively? Or would it limit the rush moves he has to offer? How many successful rush LBs have there been at that size?

... just something to think about.

Good questions/points!

Hmmm, I doubt the coaches would let him get above 265 but really, pass rush is all about first step and initial burst and ability to keep your eyes on the QB while feeling your way around blocks and naturally, closing speed/quickness. Weight isn't much of an issue as many of the most effective OLBers are close to 270 anyways. He'll also be lining up inside on the d-line so I imagine 265-270 would help him stay stout. I do like his point about with age, gaining weight and unlike Lawson, he'll need to focus on cardio, first step and burst and maintaining his weight instead of trying to pack on as much as possible to play the position. We should revisit this one in a few years; could be intreresting.

Wade Phillips is trying to switch Mario Williams from 4-3 DE to 3-4 OLB, and he's around 300lb. Now he is also one of the biggest freaks in the NFL, but I think it goes along with what you were saying. A OLB in a 3-4 needs to have pass rush ability, his size isn't as much of a determining factor.

No kidding? Wow, I didn't know that but man, imagine him at 280 and being freed up in a defense to attack. Impressive!

imo how much you weight doesnt matter that much i think speed and agility is what counts

aldon smith (even if he puts on 20 more pounds) he will still have the speed and agility to play OLB in 3-4 D


also it should be mentioned demarcus ware is the same size and has similar speeed to aldon smith present day
Originally posted by 49ersalldaway126:
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by NinerBuff:
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by oldman9er:
Not sure you are interpreting that just right, NC... or else I am not.

Quote:
his already suspect change-of-direction skills and balance as a pass rusher.

To me, this quote doesn't necessarily refer to his coverage ability. As a more lean rush LB, he will have better COD and balance as he makes his initial moves and either counters or continues as he engages a blocker.

If Aldon grows into a 275- 280 lb rush LB, will he still be athletic enough to play the position effectively? Or would it limit the rush moves he has to offer? How many successful rush LBs have there been at that size?

... just something to think about.

Good questions/points!

Hmmm, I doubt the coaches would let him get above 265 but really, pass rush is all about first step and initial burst and ability to keep your eyes on the QB while feeling your way around blocks and naturally, closing speed/quickness. Weight isn't much of an issue as many of the most effective OLBers are close to 270 anyways. He'll also be lining up inside on the d-line so I imagine 265-270 would help him stay stout. I do like his point about with age, gaining weight and unlike Lawson, he'll need to focus on cardio, first step and burst and maintaining his weight instead of trying to pack on as much as possible to play the position. We should revisit this one in a few years; could be intreresting.

Wade Phillips is trying to switch Mario Williams from 4-3 DE to 3-4 OLB, and he's around 300lb. Now he is also one of the biggest freaks in the NFL, but I think it goes along with what you were saying. A OLB in a 3-4 needs to have pass rush ability, his size isn't as much of a determining factor.

No kidding? Wow, I didn't know that but man, imagine him at 280 and being freed up in a defense to attack. Impressive!

imo how much you weight doesnt matter that much i think speed and agility is what counts

aldon smith (even if he puts on 20 more pounds) he will still have the speed and agility to play OLB in 3-4 D


also it should be mentioned demarcus ware is the same size and has similar speeed to aldon smith present day

I agree. I'm not worried about him becoming too heavy. It will limit his ability to play in space, but we all know that is being weened out of the repertoire of the OLB. I maintain high expectations for Aldon Smith.

Aldon Smith = Justin Tuck
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People forget Aldon "bulked" up to 263 to make himself attractive to 4-3 teams that were looking at ends in the draft. He's a naturally lean guy. Remember how hard it was for Manny to get/stay at 250? Aldon himself said he's cutting down to about 255 and that's where I see him playing at 255-260, the perfect size for a rush LB.
Originally posted by FL9er:
People forget Aldon "bulked" up to 263 to make himself attractive to 4-3 teams that were looking at ends in the draft. He's a naturally lean guy. Remember how hard it was for Manny to get/stay at 250? Aldon himself said he's cutting down to about 255 and that's where I see him playing at 255-260, the perfect size for a rush LB.

Good point but with age comes bulk. I bet he settles in around 265-270lbs.
Originally posted by PiratePete:
Originally posted by FL9er:
People forget Aldon "bulked" up to 263 to make himself attractive to 4-3 teams that were looking at ends in the draft. He's a naturally lean guy. Remember how hard it was for Manny to get/stay at 250? Aldon himself said he's cutting down to about 255 and that's where I see him playing at 255-260, the perfect size for a rush LB.

Good point but with age comes bulk. I bet he settles in around 265-270lbs.

It's a pretty simple formula, calculate the caloric intake one needs to maintain their body weight, and keep it at that. These scouts are acting like it's inevitable that he will gain weight, and it's retarded. If he wants to stay at 255-260 he can modify his diet to maintain that weight, it's not hard and I guarantee the Niners have a nutritionist ready to help players get to their weight goals. It's a non-issue, another thing to consider is where he gains the weight, if its in his base it will only help his balance and agility compared to if its his upper body.

Also IMO when looking at all these ex-scouts like Rang, Mayock, etc. Rang seems to be the worst, he opinions of players misses more than they hit just from the past few years of hearing beat writer interviews of him.
Originally posted by 5280High:
Originally posted by PiratePete:
Originally posted by FL9er:
People forget Aldon "bulked" up to 263 to make himself attractive to 4-3 teams that were looking at ends in the draft. He's a naturally lean guy. Remember how hard it was for Manny to get/stay at 250? Aldon himself said he's cutting down to about 255 and that's where I see him playing at 255-260, the perfect size for a rush LB.

Good point but with age comes bulk. I bet he settles in around 265-270lbs.

It's a pretty simple formula, calculate the caloric intake one needs to maintain their body weight, and keep it at that. These scouts are acting like it's inevitable that he will gain weight, and it's retarded. If he wants to stay at 255-260 he can modify his diet to maintain that weight, it's not hard and I guarantee the Niners have a nutritionist ready to help players get to their weight goals. It's a non-issue, another thing to consider is where he gains the weight, if its in his base it will only help his balance and agility compared to if its his upper body.

Also IMO when looking at all these ex-scouts like Rang, Mayock, etc. Rang seems to be the worst, he opinions of players misses more than they hit just from the past few years of hearing beat writer interviews of him.

It is very simple, You burn more calories then you take in. But that doesnt make it a done deal by any means. Plenty of NFL players struggle with weight issues and they have some of the best trainers money can buy. In the end its upto Aldon and Aldon alone.
If he gains 20 pounds he becomes Justin Smith...not bad. Can he carry the weight as well and still have the motor Justin has? That's what I would be wondering--and how it would affect his dancing style of pass rushing.

It's so difficult to judge whether a player will transition to the NFL effectively, but it will be great to see him on the field with Justin, Patrick and company in an attacking D. QBs will not be as comfortable next year.
[ Edited by dtg_9er on Jul 2, 2011 at 9:31 AM ]
Dom Capers' defensive philosophy is to get his best players on the field and create confusion and mismatches for the opposing team to deal with. Don't be surprised if Vic Fangio doesn't do the same.

In this scheme, Aldon Smith will play all over the box with one hand on the ground or standing up, particularly after Fangio's defensive schemes have sunk in with him and the rest of the players, and they've developed a little rapport.

I think Harbaugh & Co. get a year's grace -- particularly given the lockout -- and it will take them a while to figure out what they've got and how to use it, both on offense and defense. Around mid-season they'll have their base players and schemes in place, and the last third of the season will show what the current players are capable of (setting the stage for the next offseason's pick ups in the draft and FA). If I had to predict, I think Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Nate Clements, and possibly even Taylor Mays will thrive in Fangio's defense. We'll see.
[ Edited by 49erThrowback on Jul 2, 2011 at 12:16 PM ]
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Is this a real question? I think it was widely reported right after the draft that he would probably start out as a defensive end in our third-down packages.