The 49ers selected defensive end Aldon Smith seventh overall in the first round of April’s NFL draft.
Per Joan Niesen of SI.com, Smith is moving from defensive end to linebacker, something Smith has known about for two months.
For Smith, it’s just a matter of switching stances.
“The way I look at it, as far as making that transition, really it’s just about standing up on two feet instead of me being down in a three-point stance,” Smith said.
Larry McDaniel Jr. of Pro Prospects had this scouting report on Smith.
“Very athletic,” said McDaniel Jr.
“Was recruited as a tight end as well as a defensive end. Played all four defensive line positions at Missouri, but is not big enough to do that at the next level. Possesses the size to play defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level. Has shown the ability to stand up and play in underneath zone.”
“Smith is the kind of player that can develop into a premier pass rusher in the league,” said McDonald Jr.
Perhaps the 49ers switched his position, because outside linebacker Manny Lawson is a free agent, and they fear he might be gone come the end of the lockout, and the start of free agency.
New defensive coordinator Vic Fangio praised Smith when he spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle back in June.
“I see a young guy who has the body and potential to be a damn good football player in our defense,” Fangio said. “[But] he’s a true three-year college player and even on the young side of that.”
This lockout is especially hard on a young man like Smith, who can’t have any contact with his linebackers coach Jim Leavitt, and will be put in a tough position, if and when training camp does begin, especially if it’s an abbreviated version.
Despite all that, Smith is extremely confident in himself and his abilities.
“The sky’s the limit for me, as long as I keep working hard,” Smith said. “I just have to take advantage of the resources around me.”