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Baalke’s Film Review: Aldon Smith

Posted by Taylor Price on May 13, 2011 – 9:54 AM

Ever since the 49ers made Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith the No. 7 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, 49ers general manger Trent Baalke has praised Smith’s versatility and athleticism.

Thursday was no different.

Of the 10 players dissected at Baalke’s film review of the 49ers 2011 draft class, Smith was one of two players discussed heavily in the two-hour organized media activity.

For each draft pick, Baalke broke down a couple of plays to highlight the strengths of each player’s talents. For Smith, Baalke showed various plays with the 6-foot-4, 263-pounder lining up at different spots on the defensive line. Before each play, Baalke had to locate Smith on the line first.

Besides the ability to line up inside and outside on the defensive line, Smith has experience playing on his feet in a two-point stance as well. Baalke liked that versatility, but was truly enamored with Smith’s physical gifts.

One of the more impressive highlights showed Smith simply out-classing one of the draft’s top tackle prospects with his combination of size and speed. Lined up against New England Patriots first-round pick Nate Solder in a Missouri-Colorado Big-12 conference matchup, Smith used his burst and arm length to beat the No. 17 overall pick off the line with a fast swim move that would surely leave Michael Phelps impressed.

Smith finished the play by using his 36-inch arms to sack the Colorado quarterback in the backfield.

“You don’t make those plays if you don’t have 36-inch arm length,” Baalke said.

The general manager did his best to dispel the notion that bigger linebackers can’t succeed at outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. He named players like Willie McGinest and Adalius Thomas who have excelled at the position with larger frames.

“It all depends on the athlete,” Baalke said.

Baalke also pointed out that Smith would be asked to drop into coverage on a limited basis. He was drafted to rush the passer.

“We’re not asking (outside linebackers) to run man-for-man with wide receivers, we’re asking them to occupy a zone,” Baalke said.

The team expects Smith to fit nicely into their criteria for outside linebackers which is to rush the passer and set the edge of the defense. But Baalke noted that Smith needs to work on his pad level to be most effective in the NFL.

Smith’s long arms, strong hands and numerous pass rushing moves give Baalke the confidence that he can accomplish the expectations the 49ers have for him.

In this video, you can watch the 49ers general manager describe what he liked most about the Missouri defensive end, who will play outside linebacker for the 49ers. 

Monday on Goal Posts, we’ll discuss Baalke’s comments on second-round draft pick Colin Kaepernick.

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Posted in Announcements | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Baalke’s Film Review: Aldon Smith”

  1. By Jakob Rolighed on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    I miss Mike Singletary, anaway that he can come back to 49ers as Defensive Coach maybe, He was so great!

  2. By Jason V on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Unfortunately it never works that way. If it did we would have kept Mike Nolan as the DC. Now you have Singletary doing his old job of Linebackers coach for Min. and Nolan is the DC for Baltimore…..whose HC just happens to be the brother of our new HC.

  3. By JR Baca in NM on May 13, 2011 | Reply


  4. By Ernie on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    Get’r DONE!

  5. By Colorado on May 20, 2011 | Reply

    Well Coach Baalke as I knew him knows what he is doing. He has alot of experience in evaluating talent and he will do good. The one thing you can’t always do is make these players unlock their full potential. They have to have the fire in them that is why a QB taken in the 7th round can become a multi superbowl champion and future HOF’er. Or an undrafted kicker from a small division one school can become the most clutch kicker in NFL history.

  6. By Reg-Dawg on May 21, 2011 | Reply

    I hope Aldon Smith turns out to be great, but we can’t win games without a QB.

  7. By Buffalo Bob on May 21, 2011 | Reply

    Great players are usually lousy coaches. Singeltary is an example. Also poor media relations. Harbaugh did amazing things at Stanford so I give him my vote.

  8. By Bret on May 22, 2011 | Reply

    love that thought process by Colorado. I have been thinking this is more like a N.E. Pat’s draft than anything. They found good football players and not big names. This is how this team was built ‘back-in-the-day’ – it was grabbing good players – not good names. Need I say; Montana/Rice/Young (USFL to Tampa) on and on… This was a great draft and I have faith in the new staff and it’s refreshing to get away from the Nolan egomania (picking Smith over Rodgers – over a two-square game), and the I can’t move on from the ’85 Bears mentality of Sing. The one good thing Sing did for this team = we (he) are very lucky to have had him there to teach Willis, that is something that will pay off for years. Finallly a coach that knows how to run an offense and we get a D.C.with years of experience. I get excited every year with the potential of the team going in to the new season, but this year is special (I hope). This football team has alot of talent and now we might get to see it showcased – how cool would that be!?! Lets all not forget the talent they drafted last year (it seems at draft time – people forget the guys that now have a year under their belt). Dixon/Mays/the O. line – lets go Niners! Keep it up we are behind you – we are the Faithful.
    P.S. I’m torn on the Alex thing; we know he is a ‘stand-up’ guy – he has proved that over and over – learning new systems (with no cheet sheet on his wrist), taking pay cut (not that he showed he deserved the higher pay), staying behind on the week off when the prima-donna finally showed up to practice – with all that said about his character, character does not win football games. So, I hope JH knows what he is doing by keeping him around. I do know JH is putting his rep and a ton of money on the line with his decision. Also, I’m sure he has watched more film than any of us have on Alex, and he is a head coach in the NFL and we are not. So, I guess keep the faith is what I’m trying to say

  9. By the gunny on Feb 14, 2012 | Reply

    peyton manning to randy moss???

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