Aldon Smith Arrested: How It Alters the 49ers NFL Draft Plans

Aldon Smith
Aldon Smith
San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith Kyle Terada USA TODAY Sports

Sunday night, NFL fans got a strange update on their phone or had to check twice while reading the headlines when they read that San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport.

This is not the first off-the-field issue for Smith, who at the beginning of the 2013 season, left the team to attend a rehab center. Then, his future was very much up in the air. He has also previously been arrested twice for DUI, stabbed at his home, arrested on gun charges and involved in a car wreck.

On Monday, a FOX Sports report surfaced indicating Smith was at a higher risk of getting into off-the-field trouble prior to the Niners drafting him out of Missouri. According to a pre-draft psychological analysis, he has a track record of troubling activity.

“He has some past experience with getting into trouble and is a higher-than-average risk for this sort of behavior in the future,” the report states.

Smith also scored poorly on the HRT’s eight-category SIGMA motivation test used to gauge prospect’s sources of maladjustment and personal strengths. Smith scored a one out of 10 for interpersonal style, receptivity to coaching and dedication, a two out of 10 for focus, affective commitment and interpersonal style. He scored a five in self-efficacy and four in combative attitude.

“Smith’s upside potential is limited by his poor work ethic,” the HRT report states. “Although he will not use injuries as an excuse, he will not always give his best and stay focused in practice. Smith does not seem to understand the link between preparation and game performance. Instead of paying the price time and again to improve his skills, coaches will see that he will slack off occasionally and will try to get by with sporadic levels of preparation and effort in practices and the offseason.

“He does not consistently show the kind of passion and commitment to the game that we see in successful players.”

Whether or not the 49ers continue to try and help Smith as a player remains to be seen. Coach Jim Harbaugh made a conscious effort to try and help Smith as a person when he went to rehab at the beginning of last season, and made it a point to emphasize “as a person” — and not to rush him back to the field.

So what will the team do about their top pass-rusher? The team could try and find a replacement through the draft. On Monday, Sports Illustrated identified San Fran as a team very much in the mix to move up in the draft.

According to ESPN, a potential second- or third-round pick that might fit the same mold as Smith is Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence, who reportedly plans to meet with the Niners. ESPN wrote this on Lawrence to the Niners:

“He will likely be gone and they may not want to take a player who has been suspended three times over the past two seasons but he has the length, quickness and flexibility to develop into an effective edge rusher in the NFL.” 

Other options could include Texas’ Jackson Jeffcoat, Alabama’s Adrian Hubbard and Stanford’s Trent Murphy, who played under Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio with the Cardinal.

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Sam Spiegelman
Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.