Aldon Smith's quick transition to NFL success

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Aldon Smith's quick transition to NFL success

SANTA CLARA -- Aldon Smith was named NFL defensive rookie of the month for his play at defensive end for the 49ers in October.Smith is listed as an outside linebacker, but he's really a defensive end . . . at least for now.Any secrets to Aldon's quick transition to the NFL? Wasn't he supposed to be a project? (@Joshuahss)
The quick transition was not completely unexpected. It has been pointed out here that it's not uncommon for good pass-rushers to show up in the NFL at early stages in their careers.Sure, there is typically some development that takes place. But pass-rush ability is a skill that, history has shown, can transition from college to the pro ranks. Guys whose job it is to hound the quarterback generally either have it or not.RELATED: Aldon Smith named NFL defensive rookie of the month
And Smith showed signs of being outstanding in that area from the first day he put on pads and started practicing with his new teammates."He's really good," 49ers left tackle Joe Staley said the 49ers' No. 7 overall pick on July 31. "He's a really talented player. I can see why they drafted him as high as they did. I'm just so excited he's on our team. Going up against him every day is going to make me better. Because he's one of those dudes that presents a challenge for tackles. . . . It's not every day you see guys with huge long arms but also the size and the strength to go along with it."Staley was talking about Smith's pass-rush skills. That's when he's at defensive end, where he mostly played at Missouri.Where everybody figured his transition would be rough was when it came to standing up and playing outside linebacker.On Aug. 28 after the Houston Texans blew out the 49ers in an exhibition game, coach Jim Harbaugh was asked if Smith were ready to make the transition to being an every-down outside linebacker."I think he's in a process right now," Harbaugh said.Smith has natural pass-rush ability with his large, vise-grip hands, his 35-38-inch-long arms and his unique combination of strength and quickness. But standing up and playing outside linebacker is a completely different skill set.He is not on the Pro Bowl ballot because he is not a starter. Parys Haralson has been the 49ers' right outside linebacker on first and second downs. And Haralson has played very well in that role.Of course, the 49ers envision Smith as a player who'll eventually play every down. Prior to the 49ers' Week 2 game against the Dallas Cowboys, Smith lined up in practice with the scout team as DeMarcus Ware. (Ware already has 12 sacks this season.)
Aldon Smith played the role of Ware in practice against the 49ers' No. 1 offense. Now, with 6.5 sacks in his past four games, Smith's play during games is looking a lot like Ware, as well.

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

First-year coach Kyle Shanahan is close to completing his 49ers coaching staff.

Shanahan will handle the duties of the offensive coordinator, the position he held with Houston, Washington and Atlanta over the past nine NFL seasons.

Robert Saleh is the 49ers' new defensive coordinator, while Richard Hightower has been hired as the special-teams coordiator.

Here's a look at the 49ers' coaching staffs under Shanahan and last season under Chip Kelly:

2017 49ERS COACHING STAFF
Position: Coach (2016 job)
Head coach: Kyle Shanahan (Falcons, offensive coordinator)
Defensive coordinator: Robert Saleh (Jaguars, linebackers coach)
Special teams coordinator: Richard Hightower (Bears, assistant special teams)
Assistant head coach/tight ends: Jon Embree (Buccaneers, tight ends)
Run game specialist: Mike McDaniel (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Quarterbacks: Rich Scangarello (Wagner, offensive coordinator)
Running backs: Bobby Turner (Falcons, running backs)
Wide receivers: Mike LaFleur (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Offensive line: Vacant
Offensive assistant: T.C. McCartney (LSU, offensive assistant)
Senior defensive assistant: Jason Tarver (49ers, outside linebackers)
Defensive line: Jeff Zgonina (N.Y. Giants, assistant defensive line)
Linebackers: Johnny Holland (Browns, inside linebackers)
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Offensive quality control: Taylor Embree (Chiefs, defensive assistant)
Defensive quality control: Bobby Slowik
Head strength and conditioning: Ray Wright

* * *

2016 49ERS COACHING STAFF
Position: Coach (current status)
Head coach: Chip Kelly
Offensive coordinator: Curtis Modkins (Bears, running backs)
Defensive coordinator: Jim O’Neil
Special teams coordinator: Derius Swinton
Quarterbacks: Ryan Day (Ohio State, quarterbacks)
Running backs: Tom Rathman
Wide receivers: Bob Bicknell
Tight ends: Jeff Nixon (Baylor, co-offensive coordinator/running backs)
Offensive line: Pat Flaherty (Jaguars, offensive line)
Assistant offensive line: Eric Wolford (South Carolina, offensive line)
Defensive line: Jerry Azzinaro (Cal, defensive line)
Assistant defensive line: Vince Oghobaase
Outside linebackers: Jason Tarver (49ers, senior defensive assistant)
Inside linebacker: Joe Bowden
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Assistant defensive backs: Roy Anderson (Bears, assistant secondary)
Assistant special teams: Michael Clay
Offensive quality control: Mick Lombardi (Jets, offensive assistant/assistant QBs coach)
Defensive quality control: Tem Lukabu
Senior analyst: Dana Bible
Director of human performance: Mark Uyeyama

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

John Benton, who coached on the same staff during Kyle Shanahan’s four seasons with the Houston Texans, has reportedly received permission from the Denver Broncos to interview with the 49ers.

The Broncos hired Benton on Jan. 15 to work as the team’s assistant offensive line coach under line coach Jeff Davidson.

But Denver coach Vance Joseph and general manager John Elway provided Benton permission to interview with the 49ers, Denver’s 9News reported. The Sacramento Bee was first to report the 49ers were looking at Benton.

The offensive line coach is the last major position that remains vacant on Shanahan’s staff.

Benton worked last season as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Shanahan’s first NFL coaching job was with Houston in 2006, when he coached wide receivers. Shanahan became the quarterbacks coach with the Texans in 2007 before spending the next two seasons as offensive coordinator under then-coach Gary Kubiak.

The 49ers announced nine additions to the coaching staff on Friday.

Also, the 49ers are expected to hire Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, according to The Sporting News. Bullocks worked in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. The Jaguars' linebackers coach last season, Robert Saleh, is the 49ers' new defensive coodinator. Bullocks appeared in 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '08.