While skimming the internet as I do every day to gather ideas and things to complain about on Twitter, I came across a comment that just completely baffled me. I'm going to paraphrase it because I don't feel like digging it back up again:
"Gene Smith will not draft Aldon Smith. He won't take a junior when there is a senior captain available."
My initial thought when I read it was, "Well, that's just stupid." This is when the entire "Gene Smith guy" goes ridiculously too far and is applied too literally. Why wouldn't Gene Smith draft Aldon Smith? Just because he's a junior and wasn't a captain? I'd like to think Gene Smith is smarter and better than to stick to a methodology so ridiculous. Does anyone actually think Gene Smith won't draft a player because they're not a senior captain? Like, for real?
This is why things like comments about a player being a "Gene Smith guy" or not is exceedingly frustrating when discussing the draft. We have no idea what a "Gene Smith guy" really is, we're basing it off an insanely small sample size. If Gene Smith chooses to draft a less talented player because the more talented player isn't a senior captain, then quite frankly Gene Smith is a poor general manager.
Do I think Gene Smith would draft say... Ryan Kerrigan over Aldon Smith because of that? Absolutely not.
There's also the notion of "safer" picks, as if there is truly such a thing. A lot of people feel like Ryan Kerrigan is a "safe" pick at 16 overall, especially over someone like Aldon Smith.
Why is Kerrigan so much safer than the next defensive end? He works hard? Plays with high effort? Has high character? Well, there's a lot of work hard/effort/character guys who aren't any good when they get to the NFL level. I haven't seen anything concerning Aldon Smith's in-game effort, character, or his work ethic. In fact, I've heard nothing but good things about it, especially considering he came back from a mid-season broken femur in his final season at Missouri.
Aldon Smith and Ryan Kerrigan have the same shot of being a success in the NFL as they do a bust. The reality is, nothing is a sure thing. There are no "safe" picks. There are positions that have a higher propensity to not be a colossal failure, such as an offensive lineman since most can move to another position (i.e. Robert Gallery), but absolutely nothing is a sure thing.
That pretty much sums up my rant. Does it mean I prefer Aldon Smith over Ryan Kerrigan? Not really. I just think labeling one player "safer" than an other when neither have off-field concerns is rather disingenuous.