Dallas Cowboys: Linebacker Jaylon Smith’s hype train
In the second half of the Cowboys 2017 season, we started to see more frequent glimpses of the future.
With the reps he experienced early in the season the training wheels began to come off by midseason and Jaylon started reading and reacting more quickly. This was very noticeable in coverage where Smith performed very well.
He has a great feel of where to be in his zone drops, which is important because Dallas Cowboys coordinators Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard predominantly use zone coverage schemes.
During the Cowboys 2nd matchup of the season vs the New York Giants Jaylon displayed on multiple occasions his increased awareness and coverage ability. On one particular play in zone coverage, he eliminated two receivers for Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
He was playing middle linebacker and was responsible for the middle of the field. He checked an underneath crossing wide receiver and then once Eli was forced to move out of the pocket Jaylon dropped deeper in his zone and covered another wide receiver attempting to get behind him in the middle of the field. Eli was able to complete a pass to an outside wide receiver who was brought down immediately with Jaylon’s aid.
If you are still questioning his ability in coverage or if his athleticism has returned watch this video taken August 4, 2018, at Dallas Cowboys training camp of Jaylon carrying Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley down the field from Dallas Morning News beat writer, Brandon George.
Wow. Here his speed and athleticism are on full display and his ability to cover wide receivers downfield is going to make life difficult for opposing offenses in 2018.
Jaylon Smith has a lot to prove coming into the 2018 season. He has to justify his high draft selection and prove his critics wrong. I am confident he will. For a long time, there has been a number of empty seats aboard the Jaylon Smith hype train, but seats are starting to be taken. If you’re not on board, what are you waiting for?