INDIANAPOLIS -- When it comes to scouting outside linebackers for their 3-4 defense, many believe the Patriots look for players with the "ideal" size for the position -- about 6-foot-4, 260 pounds.
At 6-foot-4 and 264 pounds, Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith fits that mold.
Limited to nine games last season because of a leg injury, Smith recorded 5.5 sacks. But when healthy in 2009, he earned first-team freshman All-America honors with 11.5 sacks.
"I've done a lot of work with it coming out of college, and when I was in college I was confident doing it," Smith said of playing in a two-point stance. "The more I'm doing it, the more confident I get."
When the Patriots examine outside linebacker prospects in their system, they often look for an all-around player, capable in all phases of the game. Smith feels that he can be one.
"Being able to drop, being athletic," Smith said of his strengths, noting his versatility. "I think something a lot of people don't know [is that] I can stop the run, and help out in that area too."
Don Banks of Sports Illustrated predicts Smith will be drafted by the Jaguars with the 16th overall selection. With the Patriots holding the 17th pick in the first round, Smith figures to be one pass-rushing possibility they could consider.