Home > News > Sports > NFL > 2016 NFL Draft: Jaylon Smith selected 34th overall by Dallas Cowboys

2016 NFL Draft: Jaylon Smith selected 34th overall by Dallas Cowboys

Jaylon Smith - LB, Notre DamePick Analysis


Jaylon Smith – LB, Notre Dame

Pick Analysis

How can anyone with a heart give a poor grade here, this is awesome. If the Cowboys are happy with the medical then this is a steal, even if he has to take a year off. The images being shown are heartwarming. Well done Jerry Jones and Co. This makes up for some of the troublesome and upsetting stories that came on Day 1. To the pick itself, this is one of the best talents in the draft when healthy. He has elite athleticism, flies around the field will the energy that just galvanises everyone around him. He makes everyone around him better. Obviously how and when he is able to play massively factors into the the grade, but if they are happy, I am happy, and you should be happy. (Rebecca Rennie)

Player Analysis

This has to be up there with the sadder draft stories in recent years.  Smith suffered an ACL injury right at the end of the season on New Year’s Day vs Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.  It was gutting to see a great talent who was supposed to be enjoying his final college game go down like that, and unlike Jack, the injury occurred so late that he has a much less clear picture medical-wise on his recovery, with missing all his rookie season pretty much a certainty at least.  In addition, his recent re-check did not have positive results, and the nerve damage is the worrying big issue.  This grade is a bit of a compromise, to maybe be worth a shot late day 2 or early day 3.  He could go the way of Marcus Lattimore and never play, or he might end up a risk that pays off.  This is someone who was realistically in contention for a top 5 selection prior to the injury.  As a high profile recruit to the Irish, Smith delivered on expectations and then some, including early on in his career.  He is highly active and around the ball all game, every game.  What leaps off the game film is the incredible explosiveness and speed that he has as a natural athlete.  When combined with his boundless energy when flying around the field, Smith is breath-taking to watch.  The enthusiastic, non-stop style of play, as well as being highly effective, clearly inspires his teammates and lifts their game as well.  What is great about his game as well though, from a more mental side is how decisive he is.  Smith not only recognises plays early, but importantly he trusts his reads, is very decisive, never second guessing himself.  That in tandem with the explosion and speed makes him deadly in pursuit and in impacting the backfield too.  While a very forceful hitter that ball carriers won’t forget, an area of relative weakness right now is that Smith is not always the best at stacking and shedding off of blocks, he can tend to get stuck on blocks, as well as struggling to fight through traffic on some plays.  He has the size and power to overcome any issues there with a bit of work though.  Before his injury, the junior linebacker, who chose to still enter the draft, was completing a superb year where he had 114 tackles, 9 TFLs and 5 pass break ups.  When and where he ends up will likely be one of the bigger storylines of the 2016 draft. (Rebecca Rennie)

Grade B


2016 NFL Draft: Jaylon Smith selected 34th overall by Dallas Cowboys

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