Jaylon Smith is having a rough week. The Notre Dame linebacker was once slated to be a top five pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but after a devastating knee injury his status has been up in the air. At the NFL Scouting Combine this week, the news got even worse for the 20-year-old.
During his medical evaluations, teams obviously focused on the torn ACL and MCL Smith suffered against Ohio State during the Fiesta Bowl. But doctors also discovered nerve damage in both his knee and ankle, which is an enormous red flag.
According to Adam Schefter and Jeff Legwold, “multiple” teams have failed Smith on his physical as a result, and three teams have taken him completely off their boards. Additionally, Tony Pauline claims there are a few teams who think Smith could drop into the third day of the draft.
Smith was one of the best players in college football this year. He was an absolute missile on the field and easily the best linebacker in this year’s draft class. But the injury he suffered is almost identical to what running back Marcus Lattimore dealt with, and the former South Carolina running back never recovered before retiring without ever playing an NFL game.
Smith will likely miss the entire 2016 season thanks to his injury, and any team that drafts him will be taking a risk that he never plays a down in the NFL. Hopefully that isn’t the end result of all this, but it doesn’t look good for Smith right now.