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Jaylon Smith | Linebacker

Team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Age / DOB:  (22) / 6/14/1995
Ht / Wt:  6'3" / 235

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CBS Sports' Pete Prisco wrote that he found it "troubling" that the Cowboys did not draft for more immediate need.
Prisco was specifically speaking to the second-round selection of Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith and Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott in the second and fourth rounds (respectively). "I did like some of their other picks, but not a great draft for me," the senior columnist wrote. He ultimately assigned Dallas a C- grade for their efforts in Chicago. While he might have wanted to see an immediate impact player at the Dak Attack pick in the fourth round, he also tagged Prescott as a Day 3 gem and called it a "solid decision" for the Cowboys to draft him. If nothing else, the draft is a study in contradictions. Sat, May 7, 2016 07:31:00 PM
Source: CBS Sports

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An NFL personnel director told ESPN's Ed Werder that the Cowboys' selection of Notre Dame OLB Jaylon Smith "could be [the] greatest [second-round] pick ever."

Not everyone shares this opinion. Werder pulled four head coaches and general managers around the league asking for opinions about the Smith pick. One had Smith as a fourth-rounder, another a sixth-rounder and two said he wasn't on their board at all. In the end, the pick will be a stroke of genius if Smith becomes even 90-percent of the player folks envisioned him to be prior to the Fiesta Bowl. It will be seen as an obtuse selection if the knee never heals enough to allow for a productive career. "We have a firm belief, if you look at the history of injuries like this, that the nerve ultimately fires, some take longer than others," Stephen Jones said. "But at the end of the day, we think it will. And then once it does fire, usually it takes about - our guys say - from an inch to an inch and a half per month in terms of ultimately healing and getting full feeling back. We feel really good about that."
Fri, May 6, 2016 09:03:00 PM

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones indicated that the team would not be placing Notre Dame OLB Jaylon Smith on injured reserve.

"We will not IR [Smith]. We'll take a chance he'll be back for the playoffs," Jones said to a station producer at KRLD-FM. The 6-foot-2, 223-pound Smith infamously suffered a torn MCL and ACL in Notre Dame's January Fiesta Bowl showdown with Ohio State. It has been widely reported that the Notre Dame standout will likely sit out the 2016 campaign as he recovers from those serious injuries (and possible nerve damage), but Jones wouldn't even cave to that notion, calling the reports "B.S." and saying "don't put a lot in those estimates."
Thu, May 5, 2016 09:49:00 PM

Cowboys selected Notre Dame OLB Jaylon Smith with the No. 34 overall pick in the 2016 draft.

Smith (6'2/223) earned the 2015 Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker, finishing his three-year career with 24.5 tackles for loss as a 39-game starter. Unfortunately, Smith tore his ACL and LCL in January's Fiesta Bowl and won't be available for his rookie season. Due to nerve damage in the knee, there is concern Smith may never play again if his nerve doesn't "wake up." On game tape, Smith was an instinctive playmaker who drew comparisons to ex-49ers ILB Patrick Willis. To make good on his once-limitless promise, Smith is going to need good fortune. He was reportedly diagnosed with "drop-foot" syndrome at the Combine.
Fri, Apr 29, 2016 07:29:00 PM

NFL Network's Mike Mayock believes Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith (knee) may slip to late Rd. 3 or sometime in Rd. 4.

"He's such a great kid that somebody is going to draft him," Mayock said. "If Jaylon went with a third- or fourth-round compensatory pick, it wouldn't surprise me at all. ... I don't think anybody knows where he's going to go." ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier that Smith will be drafted before the end of Day 2. Smith will spend his rookie year on the reserve/NFI list.
Thu, Apr 28, 2016 03:09:00 PM

ESPN's Adam Schefter cites sources saying Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith will be drafted before the end of round three.

"Maybe earlier," Schefter tweeted. If we were to read the tea leaves, Schefter knows one team who has guaranteed Smith a selection at the end of round three, but a team could select the talented linebacker before them. This is very positive news for Smith. Detroit, New England, Seattle and Denver all have third round compensatory selections and each are possibilities. Many have already stated Smith will redshirt the 2016 season and go from there.
Wed, Apr 27, 2016 09:20:00 AM

Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith and Clemson DE Shaq Lawson have signed deals as brand ambassadors for New Era.

It isn't surprising that Lawson locked up a shoe deal, but props to Smith for inking one as well. He is very unlikely to play in 2016 due to the knee injury and possible nerve damage suffered against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. Looks like New Era is banking on Smith to return to form in 2017. One scout recently told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he "wouldn't touch a kid like that" (both because of the knee and because, in the scout's opinion, he's "not the brightest cookie in the room"), but many analysts had Smith tabbed as a top-10 pick or even top-5 pick prior to his devastating injury.
Tue, Apr 26, 2016 08:15:00 PM

An NFL scout says he has more issues with Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith (knee) than just his health and said the prospect is not on his draft board.

"Not the brightest cookie in the room," the scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Probably have to line him up. I don't know if he's a natural player but once he sees it he can find it and go get it. Now he's got the knee and he's not a very bright kid. I wouldn't touch a kid like that. I have no idea where he goes. He's off my board. He's a run and hit 'will' linebacker." Others are far, far higher on Smith, knee and all. "He was far and away the best," said one scout. "He wasn't just the best by default. He was the best in an excellent group of guys. It's just a risk-reward thing now." Smith is currently rehabbing two torn knee ligaments and nerve damage suffered in the Fiesta Bowl. "He's what people are looking for," a third scout said. "He's just great in space. But that injury isn't good. You don't have control of your foot. It just drops."
Tue, Apr 26, 2016 01:33:00 PM

Ryan Boser observed the Vikings have selected a risk/reward flier on the third day in the last four drafts, typically involving a prospect with medical concerns.

There are a number of those this year, including Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith. The previous picks included receiver Greg Childs, linebacker Michael Mauti, safety Dante Exum and tackle T.J. Clemmings, as Boser notes. Other options this year include Keith Marshall, Max Tuerk, Jonathan Williams and many others.
Tue, Apr 26, 2016 09:07:00 AM

An NFL scout told ESPN that Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith (knee) "would've been a top-three prospect" had he been healthy.

This is more or less the consensus opinion. Now, ESPN's Mel Kiper predicts that he'll go in Rd. 2, while CBS Sports' Dane Brugler has predicted Day 3 (Rds. 4-7). "How long is it until he's ready to play?" a scout asked. "And when he is ready, is he the same player that he was before?" Smith is a long shot to play in 2016. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder had 115 tackles and nine TFL last year.
Thu, Apr 21, 2016 07:01:00 PM

Walter Football's Charlie Campbell notes that the medical staffs of two NFL playoff teams from 2015 believe Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith will be healthy enough to play in 2017.

The two mystery teams in question have Smith graded as a potential mid-round selection. Some analysts -- including ESPN's Todd McShay and CBS Sports' Dane Brugler -- believe that Smith could slip as far as Day 3. We understand the medical pessimism surrounding the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder's knee, but if he falls to the later rounds, he has the potential to be an absolutely huge steal if he can return to health for the 2017 season.
Thu, Apr 21, 2016 04:15:00 PM

In a recent conference call, ESPN's Todd McShay indicated that he would not be surprised if Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith (knee) is available on Day 3 of the draft.

"I know of two general managers right now that told me he was going to be the No. 1 player on their board [prior to his knee injury]; they thought he was the best football player in this draft," McShay said, before adding his sad caveat that at this point, "It won’t surprise me if we get to day three and Jaylon Smith is still on the board." ESPN's Adam Schefter reported after this weekend's medical rechecks in Indianapolis that the NFL does not believe Smith will play in 2016. There are concerns about nerve damage suffered during Smith's catastrophic knee injury during the Fiesta Bowl. Like McShay, CBS Sports' Dane Brugler sees Day 3 as a very real possibility for the talented linebacker.
Thu, Apr 21, 2016 12:39:00 PM

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the NFL believes Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith (knee) will not play in 2016.

Following the results of Smith's medical recheck in Indianapolis, Schefter further stated that the NFL is not even sure when Smith will be able to return to the playing field. Unfortunately, this falls in line with reports from other plugged-in national reporters. CBS Sports' Dane Brugler reported the same over the weekend and added a belief that "there is a good chance" that Smith will fall to Day 3.
Mon, Apr 18, 2016 08:41:00 PM

The Philadelphia Daily News' Les Bowen reports that Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith's medical recheck in Indianapolis "showed [a] drop-foot problem, caused by nerve damage, [which] hasn't improved since the [C]ombine."

This falls in line with previous reports about Smith's knee. The major concern here is in regards to potential nerve damage suffered on that devastating Fiesta Bowl play which blew up Smith's would-be top-5 future. As is, CBS Sports analyst Dane Brugler believes that a slide to Day 3 is not out of the question at this point, while NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport reported on Tax Day that he would likely sit out the 2016 campaign. Also per Rapoport, "[m]any teams believe he'll be back to form in 2017." So at least there is that.
Mon, Apr 18, 2016 01:59:00 PM

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler believes "there is a good chance" that Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith will fall to Day 3.

Brugler reported that a concern about nerve damage remains Smith's biggest concern after medical rechecks and the reason he'll likely sit out the 2016 season. Curious why after all these months we still don't have a definitive answer about whether Smith suffered nerve damage, we put on our Google Doctor hats to look for an answer. Turns out nerve injuries are often hard to diagnose. That's because they don't often come with smoking guns, leaving doctors to look for clues like combing through medical history, medical tests, and an explanation of symptoms. When one of your main diagnostic tools is asking questions to a person who is highly motivated not to have nerve damage, you might have a problem getting answers.
Source: CBS Sports
Sat, Apr 16, 2016 10:31:00 AM