Here are two reasons why the Dallas Cowboys could potentially draft injured Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith.
The Dallas Cowboys are currently working out players, setting up visits and attending pro days all in preparation for the upcoming NFL Draft. With five selections in the first 135 picks of the event, the pressure is high for the Cowboys staff to select the right, impactful players who can contribute to the team’s success sooner than later.
But one draft selection who might be on the Cowboys radar will likely miss the entire season and could be out even longer due to a devastating knee injury. But his talent is so massive, his potential may be too high for the Cowboys to pass on. That’s Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith.
If healthy, some believe Smith would have a legitimate shot at being the number one overall selection in this draft. Unfortunately, the talented 6-2, 223 pound linebacker tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee in the final game of his career in the Fiesta Bowl.
Just two months removed from surgery to repair the injury, medical exams done during the NFL Scouting Combine in late February revealed possible nerve damage that could threaten Smith’s pro career before it starts. In fact, it was reported that three NFL teams have already dropped him off their potential draft boards because of it.
Once touted as being a lock Top Ten selection, now Smith has been projected by ESPN Draft guru Todd McShay to fall to the New Orleans Saints in the second round, 47th overall. That’s a huge drop that could see him rise or fall even further after his scheduled medical re-checks next month.
More from The Landry Hat
- 3 ways Cowboys’ Dak Prescott can have a bounce-back season in 2023
- Cowboys News: Dallas sets pre-draft visit with potential Dalton Schultz upgrade
- NFL executives heaping praise on offseason is uncharted territory for Cowboys
- 3 free agent signings from NFC East rivals that left Cowboys fans laughing
- Cowboys News: Brandin Cooks sends flattering message to CeeDee Lamb, Stephon Gilmore
But here are two reasons why the Dallas Cowboys, more than any other franchise, may feel like they can take a chance on Smith when others are unwilling to.
The likely biggest reason is the fact the doctor who performed the surgery on Smith’s mangled knee is Dr. Daniel Cooper, who also happens to be the head physician for the Cowboys. So Dallas has a unique and valuable insight on Smith’s injury, rehabilitation and prognosis.
The second reason is family. Jaylon’s older brother, running back Rod Smith, actually plays for the Cowboys. Dallas picked up Rod after he was waived by the Seattle Seahawks last October. With the elder Smith already in house, it’s not hard to see how the Cowboys possess more insight as to the type of player and person they could be potentially drafting.
Although these two facts alone don’t justify the Cowboys using one of their draft picks on a player whom may never play a single down in the NFL due to his injury, it certainly could make them one of the more educated teams in the league when it comes to Smith’s medicals, personality and potential recovery.
Throw in the fact that the Cowboys re-signed starting middle linebacker Rolando McClain to another one-year deal earlier this offseason, and this team is uniquely prepared to allow Smith to sit out for an entire season to rehabilitate. So if Rod’s younger brother starts to slide in the draft come April, don’t be surprised if Jerry Jones comes a-calling.
In his last two seasons at Notre Dame, Smith recorded a whopping 226 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks in 26 games. Irish head coach Brian Kelly called him the best player he has ever coached.
"“I haven’t coached a player like [Jaylon Smith] before, period,” Kelly told The News-Sentinel back in September. “He can line up with his hand on the ground. He can cover the inside receiver. He can play in the box. He can tackle in open space. There’s not much he can’t do.”"
Last year, Smith was given the Butkus Award for being the best linebacker in college football. Despite his devastating injury, and threat of possible nerve damage, NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock still has Jaylon rated as the top linebacker available in this draft class.
Thank you for reading the above article. It’s our sincere hope you’ll visit our site often as we work really hard to provide Cowboys fans with fresh, daily content about their favorite team. Please feel free to take part in further discussions about this topic below in our comment section. All we ask is that each participant is respectful in both their responses and towards others. Thanks again and…Go Cowboys!