NFL

NFL AM: Jaylon Smith Unlikely To Play In 2016

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Jaylon Smith unlikely to play in 2016:

Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith was almost certainly going to be a top-5 pick in the upcoming draft until he suffered a knee injury against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl in his final college game.

While the injury was a setback, returning from an ACL tear is not what it used to be. Unfortunately for Smith and NFL clubs frothing at the mouth over his pre-injury ability, there was also nerve damage in the knee which is going to make his recovery very difficult, and perhaps more damaging for Smith, much harder to pinpoint a timetable for his return.

Smith went through a physical “recheck” in Indianapolis this week, and it seemed even those with knowledge of the situation came away with different beliefs about the young linebacker’s ability to get back onto the football field.

Depending on who you believe, we could see Smith as early as 2017, or never at all. It seems ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport who each reported on the situation Monday got pretty different accounts about what teams believe when it comes to Smith.

“After medical rechecks, Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith is not expected to play in 2016 and teams are unsure when he will play again, per sources,” Schefter reported via Twitter.

While Schefter’s account of things suggest that teams aren’t sure when Smith could see the field again, Rapoport’s report had a very different feel to it.

“#ND LB Jaylon Smith, who was a top 5 pick before the injury, is expected to sit out 2016,” Rapoport tweeted. “Many teams believe he’ll be back to form in 2017.”

The reports highlight Smith’s problem heading into the draft. While some of it might be misinformation, it seems some walked away from the recheck wondering when they might ever see this talented young man on the field if they drafted him while others seem confident he’ll play again in 2017. Regardless of their beliefs, the injury makes Smith a difficult selection for a GM who feels he needs to win right away.

The talented young linebacker has way too much upside for him to go undrafted because of his knee, but the question will be when someone is ready to risk a draft pick on a guy that won’t be available in 2016, and may even have some issue getting onto the field past that.

Teams have concerns over Myles Jack’s knee and his agent isn’t happy about it:

With the size to play linebacker in the NFL and the speed to play safety and move over to nickel to cover slot receivers, Myles Jack is one of the most versatile and explosive players in the 2016 NFL Draft.

The problem for Jack is there is some concern his knees won’t allow him to have a long NFL career according to Phillynews.com’s Les Bowen, who quoted an NFL source who called Jack a “time bomb” whose knee could give him several good years, or not.

Jack’s agent John Thornton was not a fan of the anonymous reports, and took to Twitter himself to go after the reports and even take a shot at the NFL for their handling of concussions.

“I wish these doctors/trainers would have shared concussion info like they are sharing “alleged” Myles Jack knee info. #TheShield,” Thornton said via Twitter.

” If docs can’t tell you if he will play 10 gms or 10yrs, time 2 get new docs. Just man (or woman) up and pass on him,” Thornton went on.

It’s nice that Thornton went full political correctness by saying “Just man (or woman) up,” but if this wasn’t 2016, we’d probably have a less politically correct way of describing his response. Let’s just say, it’s stupid.

We get it, you have to protect your client and his value in the draft in every way possible, but trying to deny or deflect reports coming from multiple sources just makes you look foolish. Jack is an outstanding talent, and someone is going to draft him very, very high, but his agent isn’t doing him any favors by pretending the elephant in the room is an armchair.

I’m not sure you’re going to get the last analogy, but I’m leaving it in there because that’s what rebels do. Pray for my editor.

Miami Dolphins claim Chris Jones:

While the tinfoil hat wearing New England Patriots fans who believe all of their team’s problems stem from a vast NFL conspiracy to ruin their lives will clearly think the Miami Dolphins claiming defensive tackle Chris Jones is just a form of espionage, the reality is the Dolphins picked up a pretty good football player.

Jones missed all of the 2015 season with a calf injury, but was productive the previous two years in New England, starting 22 of the 28 games he appeared in, and picked up 9 sacks to go with his 79 tackles.

The Bowling Green product joins an interesting defensive line situation in Miami where it seems there will be several players looking to rebound in 2016.

Like Jones, who missed all of his 2015, Cameron Wake will be looking to return from the torn Achilles that cost him most of his 2015 campaign.

Newly signed Mario Williams joins Ndamukong Suh as players whose output was not nearly what the two superstar-level players expect from themselves, and will be looking to try to return to form this upcoming season.

The Dolphins also have former New York Giants draft pick Damontre Moore, who has speed and talent, but can’t seem to get his head out of his….., I mean he picks up a lot of dumb personal fouls.

If this group can come together, they have a very talented unit that could create havoc for opposing offenses. However, if they’re going to become the kind of defensive unit that teams fear, they’re going to have to get better output from every one of the guys looking for bigger and better things in 2016. For Jones, that just means getting back onto the football field.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.