Jaylon Smith lost out on millions of dollars during his first NFL contract.
Thanks to an injury during his final collegiate football game, Smith didn’t just miss out on playing time during his rookie season. The former Notre Dame standout missed out on millions of dollars on his first NFL contract. That money might come in his next contract, but in this game, you take what you can right away. You never know how long it will last or if it will be taken away from you.
Smith was considered one of the better linebackers to come out of college in recent years!
Prior to that bowl game, Smith was being considered a top-ten pick in the 2016 NFL draft. The Cowboys themselves were being linked to him at the fourth selection in that first round. However, with the horrible knee injury he suffered, Smith saw plenty go down the drain.
Dallas would take a gamble on Smith in the second-round, trusting their doctors and their opinion if he can overcome this type of injury. It wasn’t just your typical knee injury that forced Smith out of the first-round. It was the nerve damage that came with it. The nerve damage is what had many wondering if Smith would ever see the field again. Dallas believed it was worth the gamble in the second-round, despite many saying it was a wasted pick.
Smith got back on the field in 2017!
With all the work he put into getting his knee ready, Smith had his ups and downs in 2017. That was bound to happen coming off a major injury like he did.
“Just going through the experience and understanding how to play certain situations, understanding how teams attack you,” Lee said. “A lot of times you go out there and you say, I wish I would have played this play differently. It’s just a learning curve, and he’s handled it really well. For him to play as well as he has as early as he has, it’s a testament to his work.”
Terrific play by Jaylon Smith. The fact that he played all 16 games and led the defense in tackles is one of the best stories in the NFL this season. #cowboyswire
— Rob Phillips (@robphillips3) December 31, 2017
Jaylon Smith: “I feel elite again. It’s a great feeling, knowing that I’m able to contribute at a high level for America’s Team. There’s going to be some great years to come.”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 28, 2017
Smith said that he feels that he is officially back, therefore, playing at the level he did back in college. It was around the halfway point in 2017, that he believes he finally got that swag he carried in college back.
“Week 9,” he said, “was really that turning point where I really felt like I’m back to the old Jaylon Smith that you guys are used to seeing.
“I started freshman year of high school and it took about six games. Then I started my freshman year at Notre Dame and it took about seven games. No surprise that at the highest level it took about nine. I’m back.”
“I feel elite again.”
The Cowboys defense will be up to the challenge in 2018, a lot of that has to do with Smith being back as well!