Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith represents one of the most fascinating questions this year in the NFL Draft. Smith, once considered a top 10 pick, suffered a knee injury in Notre Dame's bowl game that is apparently worse than your usual knee injury. Mike Mayock said on NFL Network's Combine coverage this week that NFL teams believe it is bad.
"A big part of this is the medical ... I've texted and talked to at least five different teams since (Saturday) night to ask them about Jaylon Smith. None of them will get specific, but the one common denominator is every team's told me it's bad, on the knee," Mayock said via NFL.com.
Smith has been compared to Derrick Johnson, which is why I bring his name up. DJ and the Chiefs have reportedly talked and based on what DJ said recently in a radio interview I'm assuming he has a pretty good shot to return. But for how long? DJ is 33 years old so the Chiefs have to start thinking about the future.
That's where Smith comes in. He may not be ready to play at all in 2016 but the upside is so high that I would strongly consider drafting him at No. 28. With upside, there's also downside. It's possible he never becomes the same player again and the Chiefs use a first round pick on a player they get nothing out of.
The Chiefs are a good team and have a deep roster. While they are close, I do think they can afford to take a risk here and there and afford to have some patience when it comes to their first round pick. That's why, depending on what the doctors said (a big part of this), Smith would stay on my draft board. Derrick Johnson has been such a key to the Chiefs defense over the last decade that I would jump at even the slight chance that they could get the next Derrick Johnson even if it's not guaranteed to happen and even if it takes a year to happen.
So, is Jaylon Smith worth the risk for you?