News is breaking seemingly every few days about one particular player the Cowboys drafted. No, its not Taco and no, it wasn’t in the 2017 NFL Draft. This player in watching film on him, gives us serious reason for hope in a new, young and aggressive defense in the Big D. Let’s take a look at the most talented player, with great upside, that appears likely to hit the field running this year and that is, Jaylon Smith. Last years, second round pick who spent the year recovering from that devastating knee injury. Well, the news keeps getting better that the nerve is regenerating as the team was initially told, by the doctor who performed the surgery. The first video is Stephan Jones, being interviewed by Taylor Stern. Stephan’s quite candid that the nerve is firing and they are expecting it to be near full expectation by the start of the season. Jerry & Stephan have been cautious in speaking about Jaylon, but with each passing day and week, they’re struggling to hold in their excitement. A player of his ability can change the dynamic of the defense. The biggest failure of this franchise was to have a really good defense or anything that resembled a good defense the last ten years. A few were capable but none could be counted on to come up big when games were on the line. The risk they took was a measured one in drafting Jaylon. Their vision is if the knee fully recovered, that their defense could be drastically different. Bringing in new blood last year and this year on defense will allow them to play the style they’d like to play.
This second video show off the pass rushing skills that Jaylon possesses. If you recall he told the NFL Network that getting after the QB was one of the things he does best. Now, when was the last time we had a true linebacker able to put some pressure on a QB? Don’t count the 3-4 teams with DeMarcus off the edge. In watching some of these plays in this video, you’ll think you see some Lawrence Taylor in him, with that bend in getting the edge. LT had more upper body strength but that bend was visible. The last five or 6 years we have been unable to bring much pressure with another rusher from the front seven. How many times have you sat in the stadium or home watching the game and begging for a blitz? The announcers keep regurgitating that Rod Marinelli doesn’t like to blitz so its a rarity for them to do so. That’s partly true, but the real answer is his linebackers just aren’t very good at rushing. The best player they have to blitz has actually been, Scandrick out of the slot. Jaylon, reads, finds his hole and takes off like a missile or can put his hand down and turn it loose off the edge. You can watch plays scrimmaging back at ND and he shows moves you’d like in our DE’s. Watch the spin move he has and how often he whips those DE’s with speed and bend. It’s something we’ve missed for years. Can he play back to those traits?
This final video gives a view of him throughout the game and enables us to see how he reads & reacts. In viewing this and another game (USC in 2015) one can see how well he does in pass coverage. Without question he’s a three down player. The Cowboys have been looking for a player that the offense had to take note of where he was lining up. If completely healthy, Jaylon, just may be that type of player. We have to appreciate the value of this player being selected last year. Arguments can be had whether they could have still gotten him in the 3rd round. They knew they wanted the player and went for it. It’s hard to argue with anything they’ve done since the Will McClay tenure has officially taken on the draft process. The final decision is Jerry’s but the one who’s setting the stage for those decisions is Will McClay. He’s the real team MVP. Many think the 2016 Cowboys draft was their best in 20 years. Well, Jaylon may elevate that evaluation if he can return to the player he was before the injury. Looking forward to the OTA’s and preseason to see how things progress for #54. Yes, that’s an iconic jersey number in Cowboys history, much the same as #88.