Jaylon Smith, a player expected to be a top 10 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has seen his draft stock plummet in recent days after the former Notre Dame linebacker posted a video on Twitter of himself walking for the first time without a brace on his left knee.
Smith tore his ACL and LCL late in the Fighting Irish's season and was expected to return to form at some point during the offseason, with the 2016 NFL regular season being a worst case scenario. It turns out that he may in fact miss the entire 2016 NFL season after it was revealed that he suffered potential nerve damage similar to the same type of damage Peyton Manning suffers from, according to Fox Sports. This is a tough blow for a player expected to be every bit as great as his other combine counterpart, UCLA's Myles Jack.
Instead, three teams have already failed Smith during his physical on Friday and do not intend to draft the former surefire first-round prospect. Smith stated that the nerve did not stretch at all during the injury which would mean that no damage took place, but for three NFL teams to declare him undraftable, there must be more to this injury than previously assumed, ESPN noted.
This is devastating news for the former Butkus Award-winning linebacker. Smith will be compensated if he is not drafted in the first-round because he has a $5 million insurance policy that will help him recoup some of the benefits that would have come with being a top selection, according to the New York Post. Analysts now expect Smith to be drafted in the 6th or 7th round, if at all, but if Smith is still sitting there in the 7th, how could a franchise resist taking a chance on such a talented player?
Smith falling down draft boards means the value of players such as Leonard Floyd, Darron Lee and Jack will skyrocket. Smith will have another medical check in April to see whether or not he has made any progress in his recovery.