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Film Review: Re-Visiting Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith’s Scouting Report

Earlier this week, Cowboys assured fans that he would be ready to go for the opener against the .

Being selected 34th overall in the 2016 , Smith was forced to miss the entirety of his rookie campaign due to a severe knee which caused nerve damage down to his foot. The injury occurred during his final collegiate game for Notre Dame, in the Fiesta Bowl.

Ironically, the Fighting Irish were playing the -led on that day.

As Jaylon Smith missed more and more time, his legend around continued to grow. This legend only grew exponentially with the workout videos Smith has posted, as he looks to be in super-human type shape.

But not all are caught up on why Jaylon Smith's return is such a big deal. In fact, I had someone ask me if his game was really worth all of the hype which surrounds it. The short answer is yes, but I wanted to re-visit something I wrote on Smith after the Cowboys drafted him last Spring.

During our typical series on the picks, I published a rather lengthy film review on what Smith can bring to the Cowboys defense, and these were my findings.

The 6'2″ 225 pound middle linebacker was one of the best defenders in the country during the 2015 collegiate season. Tallying 225 tackles his last two seasons as a starter, Smith rose to the top of draft boards and was considered a sure-fire top ten pick. Instead, he fell to the risk-taking Cowboys in the , who will now reap the benefits of this pick for a long time.

First off, Smith's football IQ is off the charts. He is able to read, recognize, and react so quickly. Here we see Smith quickly read the low-hats and first steps of the offensive linemen to understand that it is a run play. As soon as he reads it, he attacks and blows the offensive lineman into the backfield.

A quick and relentless defender, Jaylon Smith played with incredible aggression for the Irish. His closing speed is top-notch, as we see him chase down the from the backside on the play below. Avoiding the backside who is supposed to cut him off, Smith quickly closes on the running back and makes a clean tackle.

Jaylon Smith can play all three linebacker positions in the Cowboys , but will be the day one starter at MIKE if fully healthy. A clear and immediate upgrade over last year's starting MIKE, , Smith joins to create one of the top linebacker combinations in the entire league.

If needed, Smith came down and played as an rusher as well. His burst off the ball, athleticism, and overall physicality helped him to be offensive tackles and get after quarterbacks. Maybe, just maybe, Smith can be used as a situational pass rusher and the weakside the Cowboys still so badly need.

Regardless, Jaylon Smith is clearly a starting MIKE linebacker on this team, and has potential as well. As long as the nerve is firing and he can play football, Jaylon Smith is going to show everyone why the Cowboys were willing to take such a great risk in round two of last year's draft.

Kevin Brady
Kevin Brady
Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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