Baalke: Aldon Smith will be every-down player


INDIANAPOLIS -- The 49ers kept Aldon Smith's role simple during his rookie season.Smith was listed as an outside linebacker. But, in reality, did not play that position. Instead, the 49ers used Smith almost exclusively as a defensive end to rush the passer in nickel situations.This season, Smith can expect a large increase in his playing time. And he will be a true outside linebacker in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme.General manager Trent Baalke was asked Thursday morning whether Smith will be an every-down player in 2012."Huh," he said laughing. "Yeah. I think that's safe to say. Yes."RELATED: Aldon Smith 2011 game logs
Last season, veteran Parys Haralson played right outside linebacker on base downs to mostly defend the run. Smith replaced him at right defensive end when the 49ers went with a four-man line in passing situations.On the other side, Ahmad Brooks started at left outside linebacker and moved to left defensive end in pass-rush situations. Brooks is not signed for next season. He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on March 13.RELATED: Ahmad Brooks' replacement is already on 49ers' rosterBaalke reflected back on the evaluation of Aldon Smith from a year ago at the NFL scouting combine. The 49ers selected Smith with the No. 7 overall pick, and he led all rookies with 14 sacks in the regular season."We were very high on Aldon from the first time we put on the film," Baalke said. "I can say that with no reservations. He was a guy who on film told us everything we needed to know about him physically. Then, it was just getting to know him better and finding out the wiring, the character, the makeup of the individual.RELATED: Q&A with 49ers GM Trent Baalke from NFL combine
"There are a lot of guys who have the physical talent to play and play well in the National Football League but, for whatever reason, they don't. And it usually comes back to their wiring."

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