How could we not start off the list with linebacker Jaylon Smith? This isn’t about what Smith did on the field, because frankly, he didn’t do much. One solo tackle in 12 defensive snaps.
No, this recognition is based on the fact Smith traveled a very long and hard road to get back on to a football field Saturday night. And for him to be starting in a Dallas Cowboys’ uniform to face the Colts was an accomplishment in itself.
The 22-year old suffered a devastating knee injury in January of 2016, and hadn’t played football since. Smith has spent the last year and a half rehabilitating from his injury with this day in mind. And he sure did not disappoint.
While on the field Saturday night, Smith looked fluid and smooth. He did not seem hesitant at all, and even had a well earned celebration after recording his first tackle as a member of America’s Team.
Jaylon Smith still has more work to do if he is going to make an impact on the Cowboys regular season. But Saturday’s debut was just one more step leading to that goal. Congratulations Jaylon! You earned your dream.