The Cowboys knew it was going to be a long road for LB Jaylon Smith when they drafted him. Some said he’d need all of 2016 off as a redshirt year while he focused on healing. He blew out his knee when Notre Dame played Ohio State in the final college football game of his career.
Before that injury, he was projected as a top-five or top-ten talent. It was the worst possible timing for him, and he fell massively in the draft. When the Cowboys could get him late, though, they still took a chance, hoping he could eventually get back to 100 percent and make the pick look like a steal. Recently, head coach Jason Garrett was asked about him, and he said:
“He’s made a lot of progress. He’s moving around better and better.”
When asked how he was doing earlier this month, Smith said:
“I mean if you see me run, if you see me do drills and things like that it would be hard to tell what’s really wrong with me. Based on the progression that’s happened so far, I’m so astounded with the process, all the training staff, just trusting me and me putting my trust in them and believing in them and we’re getting results.”
Smith has been very optimistic the whole time, considering how crushing the whole situation must have been for him. While that’s admirable, it still looks like he probably will not be able to play in 2016. At this point, he’s just hoping that the nerve damage isn’t so severe that it means he never gets back to an NFL level.