The second year for Jaylon Smith went better than even he would have imagined.
Coming off a major knee injury in college, an NFL future looked iffy at best by many for the former Notre Dame standout. One team that continued to hold out hope for Smith’s future, was the one that drafted him.
Trusting their doctors on the injury to Smith, the Cowboys used their second-round pick on the former Notre Dame linebacker. In college, Smith was viewed as one of the better linebackers at the college level in recent history. Prior to that injury he suffered in his final collegiate football game, Smith was viewed as a first-round talent. Some thought as high as a top-ten pick, including the Cowboys.
Dallas had a lot of eyes on that Fiesta Bowl game in 2016!
A pair of players caught the eye of Dallas, who had the fourth overall pick that year. Smith and Ezekiel Elliott were a pair of players that Dallas were looking at with that fourth overall selection. An injury during that game cost Smith millions of dollars. The knee injury itself wasn’t the issue, it was the nerve damage that accompanied it.
If this last season has anything to do with it, those millions of dollars will be refunded, along with many more. After missing his entire rookie season, the young linebacker showcased what the future holds for him in Dallas.
Smith was fantastic in his second year, playing in all 16 games. He had 81 tackles (50 solo), two forced fumbles, and a sack. He also showed that elite speed he has at times this season as well.
Stephen Jones is excited what next year will bring with his young LB. This entire team is excited for what the future holds for Smith (via David Helman).
“Our guys are so confident he’s going to make a huge jump.”
He may never be the same player he was in college, but he doesn’t need to be that. What we saw in 2017 proves that he can still be a great talent in this league.
— David Helman (@HelmanDC) January 8, 2018
We don’t know how many Pro Bowls or All-Pro team’s Smith will make over his NFL career, or if he will even make one. What I do know is that I will not bet against Smith, especially after watching him work to get back on the field. Not only did he do that, he did so faster than many thought, including myself.
Smith carries more than the talent to be a star in this league, it’s the heart he has as well!