(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated.)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The San Francisco 49ers figured they were in for a long term project when they selected Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith with the No. 6 pick in the 2011 draft.
They're happy to have been proven wrong.
At the time of the draft the team viewed Smith as an outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's 3-4 scheme, despite the fact the 20-year-old played solely with his hand in the dirt in his two college seasons.
With Parys Haralson and Ahmad Brooks entrenched at the two outside linebacker spots last season, the team was able to bring Smith along slowly. In practice, he learned playing in coverage and run support, but on game days he was sent on the field in passing situations to rush the quarterback as a defensive end.
This season he's been unleashed.

Recent NFL Discussions

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Don't Pass on these NFL Betting Picks It may be of small comfort that that the regular season is still one and a half months away from starting, but compared to the long wait we’ve had since the...
Thumbnail Betting Against Terrible NFL Teams When you have a great handle on just how an NFL franchise is going to perform heading into a brand new season, well, clearly, that’s a good thing that will allow...
Thumbnail Broncos Win-Total Pick Are the Denver Broncos going to once again be a force in the AFC...
Thumbnail Packers Win-Total Prediction Can the Green Bay Packers remain the best team in the NFC North and make a run to double-digit wins this...
Thumbnail NFL Regular Season Win Totals How many wins will each of the 32 teams have in the NFL regular season? Here's a look at the odds.

NFL Team Pages