The Green Bay Packers are, without question, a team to watch as the 2016 NFL Draft gets ready to begin. Ted Thompson has always been one of the top drafting general managers in the league and the Packers always seem to come away with impressive all-around drafts.
If the Packers want to continue being a Super Bowl contender each and every season, they need to bring in a few impact players in this year’s draft.
Jaylon Smith was, at one point, considered to be one of the top players available in the entire draft class. Now, there is a lot of concern surrounding his knee and how much damage was actually done to it when he suffered his gruesome injury last season. Even though there is concern, Smith still has the potential to be a major pickup for whoever gives him a chance.
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report put out his final mock draft and has the Packers taking Smith in the second round of the draft.
Last season with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Smith ended up compiling 115 tackles, a sack, five defended passes, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. He is, without question, one of the most dominant linebackers that the draft has seen in a few seasons — if he’s able to get back to full health.
Standing in at six-foot, two-inches and 235 pounds, Smith is going to be a very physical linebacker at the next level. He is expected to miss the entire 2016 season, but he will come back strong. There are not many players with the type of work ethic and motivation that Smith has, which will help him get back to his full potential.
Clay Matthews switched over to the inside linebacker position this past season, but the Packers want him back on the outside. He is best utilized as a pass rusher, but the Packers have to bring in a better inside linebacker before they are capable of doing that.
If Smith does fall all the way to the second round for the Packers, they would have to take him.
Simply looking at the potential that Smith has makes him a quality second-round pick. Green Bay is at the point where they can just draft the best available players. Smith still has the talent to be a franchise caliber defensive player and many players in the past have come back off of injuries to be a star.
Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay coaching staff would love to take on a project like Smith. Allowing him to take a year off is likely the best option, but there is always a chance that he heals quicker than expected.
There are going to be plenty of other options for the Packers in the second round as well. Other teams will also be interested in Smith in the second round. That being said, there is no better fit for Smith than Green Bay.
Smith talked about loving Green Bay, which gives even more intrigue to the idea that the Packers could draft him.
“Yes. Yes. I love them. Mike McCarthy … wow. That was a great interview.”
It is sad seeing the way that Smith has dropped on most teams’ draft boards due to his knee. Seeing young players get hurt in the way that he did is never easy.
Expect to see Smith drop into the second round, although it is not a sure thing that he will still be on the board when Green Bay comes up to pick. If he is available, however, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Packers end up taking him to help beef up their linebacking corps.
Do you think that the Green Bay Packers should draft Jaylon Smith if he’s available in the second round? How would he fit with the team and will he be able to bounce back from his serious knee injury?
[AP Photo/Michael Conroy]