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Mailbag: What Would You Do About Aldon Smith?

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JAMES ADAMS
NEWPORT BEACH, CA
Aldon Smith seems like a real head case, and definitely not one of Jason Garrett's "right" type of guys. That said, am I on to something in thinking Smith could be Charles Haley 2.0? Not in terms of a guy who makes the Cowboys title contenders, but that Dallas just might be desperate enough for an elite edge rusher to trade a late-round pick and take a flier on a player who could transform the league's worst pass rush and give Tony Romo at shot at the playoffs?


Nick: I see your point. If that happens I think Cowboys fans would love that because if it doesn't work out, you cut him. Just like you cut T.O., Pacman, Tank Johnson and all other players like that who were let go of their respective teams who had simply had enough. Right now, I doubt the 49ers are going to give up on a player with his talent, who clearly needs help. You said late-round pick, but I'd be surprised if they would take anything less than second and that might not be enough. Also, your comparison to Haley could be spot on, if and only if, Smith does some growing up here quickly. Say what you want about the loud-mouth, boisterous ways of Haley, but he wasn't getting arrested in airports. But I keep going back to my point about the 49ers' willingness to part ways with him. And if I'm them, I focus more on getting him help than what kind of draft pick I could get for him.  

David: Obviously we don't know what's going to happen with Smith. But look at his production through two years in the league, and it's pretty tempting to say yes. Smith is young, and he's proven his capacity as a pass rusher – he had 19.5 in 2012 and 14 last year. The off-field concerns are troubling, but the Cowboys have proven their ability to keep players in check – just consider Dez Bryany. I don't think the 49ers are ready to part ways with him, and I don't know what the asking price would be. But I'd be interested to discuss it if adding Smith to this defensive line was a possibility.

MIKE JETER
ABILENE, TX
Is there an ideal number of players for each position? Seems to me that we are always looking for safeties and cornerbacks. How many are enough?

Nick:Well they're always looking for [embedded_ad] safeties because they haven't found any yet. As for cornerbacks, you'll always try to get 4-5 good ones. I guess you could say the same for all positions.

David: Luckily, I think safety and cornerback are positions where you can supplement the total with special teams players. Typically, though, I think you want to have a total of nine or 10 guys between those two positions – five of each or five of one and four of the other. I think the reason why they couldn't settle on one last year was the same story we've discussed over and over: injuries.

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