ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that even with the catastrophic knee injury sustained by Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith, the expectation is still that Smith will be selected by the end of round three.
- Schefter adds that an NFL head coach even predicted Wednesday morning that Smith could go “at the end of (round) 1, maybe round 2.“
This comes as a bit of a surprise, considering that Smith’s medical recheck didn’t go very well, and teams are concerned about nerve damage in his knee.
Recent reports said that Smith was still dealing with “foot-drop” in his injured knee, but his surgeon, Dr. Dan Cooper, says this of the injury: “[I’m] optimistic that his knee itself will be stable and a good knee and he’ll get all his strength back. And I also think he has a very good chance of getting his nerve recovery back.”
This is an positive take on what’s clearly a serious injury. However, Cooper adds that even if Smith’s nerve damage doesn’t get better, there are other options to consider.
“Worst-case scenario, there are surgeries, there are tendon transfers you can do to hold the foot up,” Cooper said. “Best-case scenario is he gets all his strength back. And then in between would be that he gets a lot of it back or some of it back.”d
Reports have said that Smith is expected to sit out the 2016 season, but teams believe he’ll be able to return to for the 2017 season.
This has led some to suggest that Smith may end up being a late-round pick when all is said and done.
Smith was considered a lock to be a first-round pick before he suffered a major knee injury during the 2015 season. Previous reports said that evaluations showed Smith has ankle, knee and nerve issues, so the medical recheck was extremely important for him and his draft stock.
Smith thankfully had a $5 million loss of value insurance policy at the time he sustained the knee injury.
Over the course of his three-year career at Notre Dame, Smith recorded 284 tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, three recoveries and 10 pass defenses for the Fighting Irish over the course of three years.
We’ll have more regarding Smith as the news is available.