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Aldon Smith is a guy that would be a great pick if the Lions were able to trade down into the 15-20 range in the first round.
Smith left Mizzou after his redshirt sophomore season, and predictably, that makes him incredibly raw. He hasn't developed, either physically or mentally, into the top-flight prospect he could have been.
However, he's young, and he could very easily get there with time. But it's not often teams spend first round picks on projects, which should give you an indication of just exactly how much raw talent there is there.
Now, I've advocated staying away from the offensive tackle position, because I feel it's a position that could be better filled next year. Yet, here I'm advocating taking a defensive end project in the first round?
Because Smith actually needs that time to develop. The offensive tackles being discussed in the middle of the first round aren't projects, that's just where they are. They would be drafted and paid a lot of money, then they would either sit on the bench for a year, or Jeff Backus would spend his contract year on the bench (not likely).
The difference is, Tyron Smith or Anthony Costanzo would come in for the 2012 season and maybe be marginally better than when they were drafted.
Aldon Smith in a year's time could have become a complete defensive end worthy of the top overall pick. He is athletic, plays the run and pass equally well, and still hasn't grown into his frame.
He'll be good (and he'll play) in 2011, but his potential is among the biggest of any player on the board. He needs to put on some more weight and get a bit stronger (and who better to make that happen than Kyle "5 AM lift, be there" Vanden Bosch?), and he could be a perennial Pro Bowler.