Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
Weight: 240 lbs
Projected Round: 1
Jaylon Smith tore both his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and his Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) in the Rose Bowl on New Years Day. This brutal injury will prevent him from playing in the 2016 NFL season. Much like Myles Jack, his injury is not likely to stop him from being selected in the first round of the draft.
According to CBSSports.com, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said that Smith was “the best [player] he has ever coached”. He is a freakish athlete who can make plays that others don’t have the natural ability to do.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said that Smith was “the best he has ever coached”
Smith is one of the best tacklers in college football. He is projected to be a three-down linebacker in the NFL if he can regain his form. At his size and weight, he has the ability to play either inside or outside linebacker at the pro level. According to his second mock draft, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper believes Jaylon is one of the top three of four talents on the board this year.
The fact that he suffered such a brutal injury so recently is a major concern. Any team drafting Smith needs to be prepared to let him sit out the 2016 season. It’s not easy for NFL coaches and general managers to take a chance on a player who won’t see the field for a year, but Smith is worth the risk. It will be interesting to see how he heals from his injuries because one of his assets was his explosiveness and speed.
Next: Darron Lee