Jerry Jones has always been the type of owner to take risks in the NFL Draft, and that was the case with the Dallas Cowboys’ second-round pick. Jaylon Smith is dealing with a gruesome knee injury, but the Cowboys went ahead and selected him. No one expected him to go as early as he did, but Smith has a great work ethic and is dedicated to returning at some point in the 2016 season.
According to Jones, the Cowboys will not put Smith on IR this coming season and will hold out hope that he can return for the playoffs.
Dallas is giving Smith yet another reason to continue working hard to return as quickly as possible. Simply having a chance to play will give Smith something more to continue working for. This is a smart move by the Cowboys, even if there isn’t much of a chance that Smith does make it back in 2016.
Last season as a member of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Smith showed superstar potential before his injury. He recorded 115 total tackles to go along with a sack, five defensed passes, two fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble. Those numbers made him a top-10 pick to many analysts, but the injury bumped him down.
Standing in at 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, Smith is a physically intimidating linebacker that will deliver some massive hits in the NFL once he gets back on the field.
One of the major weaknesses that the Cowboys have had over the past few seasons is the lack of playmakers on the defensive side of the football. Smith has shown throughout his entire career that he is the definition of a playmaker and has the opportunity to become the face of the Dallas defense.
Looking ahead at the upcoming 2016 NFL season, there is no question that the Cowboys will be back to being a competitive team in the NFC East. After the disappointing season that they had last year, Dallas needs to come through with a strong season for their fan base.
Having Smith come back for the postseason would be huge, but it will all depend on whether the team can actually make the playoffs.
Tony Romo and Dez Bryant will be back after the serious injuries that both suffered last season.
Ezekiel Elliott was the Cowboys’ first-round pick and will be asked to shoulder a large load for the offense. He was considered to be the best player in the entire draft by many analysts, but has to prove it on the field this season.
All of that being said, the Cowboys still likely don’t believe Smith will return to the field in 2016. They are making this move to stand behind Smith in his rehab process and help motivate him. If Smith does somehow make a miraculous recovery and return for the playoffs, Jones will look like an absolute genius.
Expect to see Smith work hard as the season moves forward and get himself closer to returning to the field. Dallas obviously has faith that he will get back to 100 percent at some point in the future and are willing to be patient with him. Smith will end up making them happy with their decision when he gets back to full strength and could work his way into being one of the top linebackers in the league.
Do you think there is any chance that Jaylon Smith returns for the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs? Did the Cowboys make the right decision by selecting Smith in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft? Let us know in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Michael Conroy]