The Dallas Cowboys 2nd round selection of Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith left most in complete and utter shock. After being regarded as a potential top 5 pick in the 2016 NFL draft for most of his final collegiate season, Smith tore both the ACL and LCL in his knee during the Fiesta Bowl last New Years Day. It was a heartbreaking scene. One that could have brought even the most sworn hater of the Fighting Irish to sadness. But while tearing those ligaments presented Smith with a long enough recovery, it is the nerve damage in that same leg which is creating the biggest obstacle.
Going into the 2015 season there weren't too many people would have identified Wide Receiver as a major position of need for the Dallas Cowboys. But, injuries to Tony Romo and Dez Bryant exacerbated the lack of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball a season ago. Terrance Williams had rather high expectations going into last season, considering his stellar playoff performances in 2014. I thought he could be the Alvin Harper to Dez Bryant's Michael Irvin, but without Romo on the field Williams was quiet, to say the least. Cole Beasley and Lucky Whitehead can produce for Dallas, but they aren't the type of players who are meant to provide a consistent outside threat.
Finishing so poorly in 2015, the Cowboys were in prime position to add two first-round type players with their 4th and 34th overall selections. Fans wanted more than just first round talent, however, they wanted two players who could make an immediate impact in 2016. They got just that in Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall. The Cowboys then caused quite an uproar with their second round selection, Notre Dame Linebacker Jaylon Smith. Smith was a consensus top-ten pick entering the New Year, but on January 1st of this year the trajectory of his entire career changed when he suffered a severe knee injury.
The Dallas Cowboys shocked the world tonight. Sitting at 34th overall with players such as Noah Spence, Andrew Billings, and Jonathan Bullard all still on the board, the Cowboys instead drafted Notre Dame Linebacker Jaylon Smith, who comes with more Day 1 questions than answers. Every draft scout seems to have the same sentiment on Smith. If he is healthy, and the nerve in his knee wakes up, he will be a great player in this league. Injuries aside, he very well might have been a top 5 pick in this draft, maybe even to the Cowboys at #4.
The Dallas Cowboys grabbed Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick last night, and tonight entered day 2 of the NFL Draft with needs across the defense. Appetizing names such as Noah Spence, Jonathan Bullard, Ronald Blair, A'Shawn Robinson, and a host of other talented defensive linemen fell through the first round and were all potential targets for Dallas at #34. There was also a lot of speculation that the Cowboys would trade up or down from this pick. Instead, they stayed put, and added a talented linebacker out of Notre Dame that will not see the field in 2016. The unfortunately injured Jaylon Smith became the 34th overall selection of the Dallas Cowboys.