5 teams that make football sense for Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith's NFL future is in doubt, but if he is eventually cleared to play, which teams would be logical fits for him?

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/George Nikitin)

(AP Photo/George Nikitin)

5 teams that make football sense for Aldon Smith

The San Francisco 49ers released Aldon Smith last week after he was arrested on charges of DUI and hit and run. Those are obviously very serious charges, and ones that put his short- and long-term futures in the NFL into question.

However, there have been reports this week that some teams are showing at least some interest in signing Smith, depending on how his legal and league discipline situations turn out.

There’s no question that Smith is a top-level edge rusher, rivaling J.J. Watt and Von Miller as one of the most effective pass-rushers in our grading system since he’s entered the league.

Purely from a football perspective, which teams would benefit the most from signing Smith? Here are five teams that fit the bill:

Detroit Lions: The Lions lost Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and George Johnson from their defensive line this offseason. While they added Haloti Ngata in the middle to off-set some of that loss, there is no getting away from the fact that they lost their best pass-rushers outside of Ziggy Ansah, seeing 118 total pressures leave from those three players alone. Smith had 32 total pressures on his own in just seven games last year, so he can definitely add something here.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars knew they needed to add an outside force to the edge of their defense in 2015, and opted to draft Florida’s Dante Fowler Jr. with their first draft pick in May’s NFL draft. Unfortunately, Fowler tore his ACL in his first practice with the team and is out for the season, while Chris Clemons has been absent at the start of training camp. Last year the Jaguars didn’t have an edge rusher register a higher pass-rushing productivity score higher than 6.5, while Smith has never had a PRP score of lower than 11.2 since entering the league.

New York Giants: Another team that is suffering thanks to injury, the Giants need some help off the edge given the uncertainty around Jason Pierre-Paul’s return from injury will be able to return to the team. They drafted Owamagbe Odighizuwa out of UCLA, but his best work came against the run. Pierre-Paul had the 16th-best PRP score among 4-3 defensive ends a year ago, so someone like Smith would give the Giants a guaranteed threat off the edge in his absence.

San Diego Chargers: A team that should contend in the AFC West, the Chargers really need to improve the edge of their defense. The top two outside linebackers in San Diego are Melvin Ingram and Tourek Williams. Ingram improved as a pass-rusher in 2014, but Williams hasn’t provided much in the two seasons he has been in the league. In fact, off of the 158 pass-rushing snaps since entering the league, he has recorded just eight total pressures.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs have arguably the best defensive tackle in football in Gerald McCoy, and one of the best off-ball linebacckers in Lavonte David, but they could definitely benefit from an improvement off the edge. George Johnson has the potential to be a very smart addition at one defensive end spot, but on the other side, William Gholston contributed just 25 total pressures from 325 pass-rushing snaps as a rookie.

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • Devin Balkaran

    I would hate to see the Jags get a guy like Smith that has caused so many problems. A locker room presence like that is the last thing that team needs.

  • Greg Fuderer

    aldon smith makes no sense in jax

    • Nick Hesterly

      He makes perfect sense in Jacksonville; a team that needs a premium of quality pass rushers.

  • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

    he’s done

  • Kent Lee Platte

    I get that it’s football sense, but there’s less than 0 chance he ends up in Detroit. Team simply doesn’t sign or draft character risks since 2012.

    • gregg rice

      Hey Kent Lee Platte, nice to see u subscribed finally lol. Hope we can be cool again man. Last time we chatted I called u out on fb after losing fairley, and u virtually told me F*%@ OFF and go be a rams fan. Glad to see u here. I’ve been subscribed on here for five + seasons. I’m not to worried about DT as much as i am LDE, WE REALLY NEED Taylor to step in and help. Seems Caldwell was a little premature speaking of Webster’s progression huh? Man, I can’t stand Jason Jones. Aside from the run, the dude is a liability, and as it stands, is our only negative graded starter. I am not as hopeful on Ngata conversion as some of our #onepriders naively assume a 340 pound NT can easily go from a 0,1 or 2 technique to a 3 or 4 technique, he is an athletic 340 pounds, but u know that’s a bit large for a 4-3. U know I live in California man, how are the camp battles looking? Honestly. Who’s “showing” and who’s “woe-ing”? I don’t trust a lot of article writers, u know I hate Kool aid man, lol while I’m not our version of Debbie Downer aka Drew Sharp(whom I respect), I call things as how I see it. I’m stoked with Wilson, rasheen and slay, man our cb looks deep, but I count three nickles. And how is Tyrunn Walker doing? I was higher on him than Ngata, is he taking longer to adjust? And man, I know Caldwell won’t want the headache and there’s a %1 chance we got at him, but it is intriguing. Any chance we go out and get a Freeney, Long, etc for more depth? And tell me the lions are in ILLEGAL TALKS already to bring my boy weddle over so we can dump ungrateful dig lol….Jk, I’m headed to SD the 13th next month, I’m second row on the 50 yard line on the visitors side, if it helps I can send u some great pics as a peace offering? I know it’s tacky, but other than probably getting to talk to chargers stars I’ve met over the last few years I don’t know what else I can offer