Jaylon Smith to Participate in Cowboys Rookie Camp

    The NFL isn't always a cold, heartless dictator. According to , is going to be eligible to attend this year's rookie camp despite being a 2016 draft pick.

    Smith's ability to practice with this year's rookie class is due to the knee that kept him out of all team activities in 2016. Jaylon tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee, while also suffering nerve damage, during his final college game in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. Projected as a top-five talent in the 2016 , Smith's injury dropped him to the early .

    Jaylon Smith

    Outside of strength and conditioning work, Jaylon Smith never practiced or played with the Cowboys during his rookie season. He remained on the Non-Football Injury list the entire year. Even if Smith had missed the rookie camp but later joined the team last season, it is unlikely that he would be able to participate now.

    One could argue that Jaylon will be the most intriguing player in this camp over any of the 2017 rookies. Even , Dallas' first-round pick, isn't viewed as the same potentially elite talent that Smith is. He also likely won't have the same level of responsibility this season.

    If healthy, Jaylon is expected to move immediately into the starting middle spot. He will ideally form a partnership with that could rival any linebacker duo in the NFL. This extra practice time will benefit him, both in preparation and in building confidence in his knee.

    The mental aspect of returning from a major injury can be even harder than the physical. It takes time to develop trust again in your body to perform the way your instincts expect. Participating in this rookie camp will help Jaylon Smith to continue that process, and hopefully increase his chance at a successful 2017 debut.

    Jess Haynie
    Jess Haynie
    Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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    Someone is on here saying Smith will get a camp look at SS… ;^)

    Since he’d be a monster there if it worked…

    His 2017 all hinges on the knee recovery of course. If he’s really back, one might speculate that he’ll stay on the field on long downs, even as a MLB. I’d rather someone of his talent not be just an early downs player. Maybe like a rover LB who attacks the QB from different spots, etc