Jerry Jones says Jaylon Smith will finally be hitting the field on Saturday, making his long-awaited NFL debut
Jaylon Smith will finally get to see some game action for the Dallas Cowboys. According to DallasCowboys.com beat writer Nick Eatman, team owner Jerry Jones says Smith will appear in Saturday’s preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts.
After a standout three-year collegiate career at Notre Dame in which he was a Consensus All-American and Dick Butkus Award winner (given to the top linebacker in college football) in his junior season, Smith suffered a torn ACL and LCL in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State and underwent knee surgery on both ligaments.
Smith was a member of the Notre Dame team that won the Pinstripe Bowl (over Rutgers) in his freshman season and the Music City Bowl (over LSU) the following year.
Dallas took a chance on Smith, drafting him in the second round (34th overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft. Smith missed the entire 2016 season while recovering from surgery. The Cowboys saw enough in Smith’s rehabilitation to avoid drafting a linebacker in this year’s draft in May.
Smith got into the action in Dallas’ practice on Monday, ending the day with a sack of backup quarterback Kellen Moore and celebrating with “The Swipe,” a dance move Fighting Irish fans saw plenty of during his college career.
“I was very excited, just to be able to make a play,” Smith said. “It was a great feeling. Third down stop, getting a sack, being able to do ‘The Swipe.’ Great feeling.”
Dallas finished 13-3 and won the NFC East thanks not only to the stellar play of rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, but also a defense that finished fifth in scoring defense and 14th in total yards allowed in the NFL last season.
Smith will battle Anthony Hitchens and Justin Durant for the starting middle linebacker spot between Damien Wilson and Sean Lee.