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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Aldon Smith St. Louis Rams' Pre-Combine Projection

The last 2011 NFL Mock Draft before the NFL Combine is out from the mothership at SB Nation, and with Julio Jones still off the board the Mock Drafters have finally given St. Louis Rams fans the defensive end they want—Missouri's Aldon Smith. With teammate Blaine Gabbert moving up the board to the Buffalo Bills at number three, Smith falls just enough to land in the Rams arms ahead of the Scouting Combine, where all of this will be rendered completely irrelevant. 

Smith would make a great bookend with Chris Long, who finally showed, in 2010, that he was a player who could be built around, instead of atop, and the local flavor makes him more intriguing than Cal's Cameron Jordan. This offseason's big offensive pick-up might remain Josh McDaniels; in this case at least Steve Spagnuolo would get his man. 

In case you were wondering, Brian Galliford, our mock-drafter of choice, doesn't have a single wide receiver going in the first round after Jones, leaving popular high-risk athlete Jonathan Baldwin out entirely. Few players could benefit more from an outrageous Combine performance than Baldwin, so that's likely to change in our next mock draft; elsewhere on the reach front, Leonard Hankerson's Senior Bowl onslaught appears to have not been quite enough to push him into the back of the first round.