Standout University of Missouri DE/LB hybrid Aldon Smith continues to be one of the top selections for the Texans in mock drafts, and just as he did last week, Yahoo!‘s Doug Farrar has sent him to fill the Houston Texans 3-4 edge rusher role. Here’s how it shakes out in Farrar’s mind, and why he picked Smith over Auburn’s Nick Fairley for the Texans:
Wade Phillips’s new 3-4 defense in Houston needs an edge rusher like Phillips had in San Diego with Shawne Merriman(notes) and in Dallas with DeMarcus Ware(notes). And when Phillips sets his 5-2 defense to more of a four-man front, and everyone heeds to switch gaps, he also needs the kind of edge rusher who can slip inside and help stop the run. That’s Smith to a “T” — not only can he disrupt blockers and split gaps with the best of them, but he can also use misdirection to blow through and tackle any type of ballcarrier in the backfield.
This is a really awkward scenario for the Texans to draft from. North Carolina’s Robert Quinn is off the board, as are Alabama WR Julio Jones and Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara. Instead, the “top tier” defensive prospect who gets knocked down a bit is Fairley, who is more of a 4-3 tackle to me than a 3-4 nose, even in Phillips’ scheme.
In this case, the Texans probably couldn’t be faulted for going with Smith, although Cameron Jordan and J.J. Watt will probably enter the equation if it does play out.