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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Aldon Smith's Stock Getting Pricey For St. Louis Rams

Once upon a time, a million 2011 NFL Mock Draft years ago, Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith was a fallback option for a St. Louis Rams team that still had a chance to select Julio Jones with the 14th overall pick. Now draft day is Thursday and Smith might be the latest player to slip past the Rams' mid-round clutches, if recent mock drafts are any indication. SB Nation's latest mock draft and WalterFootball's most recent are just two in a recent trend that's seen Smith and the Houston Texans pick up momentum as a possible connection.

It's a shame, because Aldon Smith was the defensive selection most likely to take the sting off a Julio Jones whiff come draft day. Smith is extremely talented, likely to be fun to watch from day one, and is a familiar name to a not-insignificant portion of Rams fans, who probably watched the Mizzou Tigers with heightened interest during the Rams' visit to football wilderness.

This recent move could just be groupthink, however—it's far too early to discount the idea of selecting Smith entirely, not with a hundred-thousand 2011 NFL Mock Draft years still to go.