The Dallas Cowboys used their second-round pick in 2016 on the enormous potential of linebacker Jaylon Smith, even though they were unsure when, or if, he would play again. According to a report today, Smith says he will be ready to practice in the offseason and that he could have helped the Cowboys in the playoffs.
Smith told reporters that the nerve in his leg has started to regenerate. That has been the big issue after his catastrophic knee injury in his bowl game last year.
"Yeah, it's regenerating," Smith said of his nerve in his left leg. "It's just a thing that you have to have patience. I'm going to continue to do everything I'm asked and controlling what I can control and we're going to take our time with it."
How does Smith know his nerve is regenerating in his leg? Is it because doctors have told him or is it something he's feeling now that he wasn't feeling before?
"Both. Doctors and tests all of that good stuff, feeling," Smith said. "There are things I didn't have before that I'm definitely getting now."
Smith went on to say he believes he could have played in the playoffs this year at an elite level. The Cowboys obviously decided not to test that theory, instead giving Smith plenty of time to heal. He thinks he’ll be ready to go in May when the 2017 offseason program will begin.
Smith’s return could drive the Cowboys already great draft to historic levels. With the success of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Maliek Collins and Anthony Brown, the Cowboys are already assured of a successful 2016 draft. Smith, a player who could have gone in the Top 5 overall of the draft, would make it one of the best drafts ever if he returns and plays at his talent level.
It would also solve a problem at linebacker, where only Sean Lee is elite, but the Cowboys other linebackers run the gamut from good, to potentially good, to serviceable. Having a second star at that position would elevate the Cowboys defense going forward.
According to Smith, his speed is back.
Talked to Jaylon Smith. Believes he could've played by now, being patient. Nerve regenerating. Brace not a factor anymore. Ran 4.5 other day— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) January 5, 2017