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Mayock: A healthy Jaylon Smith may have been No. 1 pick

during the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said during his annual pre-Scouting Combine marathon conference call Tuesday that former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith might have been the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft had Smith not suffered a torn ACL and MCL during his team’s Jan. 1 Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State.

“If he did not get hurt, he’d be in the conversation for the first pick,” Mayock said. “That’s how good a season this kid had.”

Smith had surgery last month. His health and the chance he could miss all of his rookie season will obviously affect his draft status.

In a previous conference call, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said he saw Smith as a top three pick before the injury. Smith was an All-American and had 225 tackles over his last two college seasons before entering this year’s draft.

Mayock said Smith is “a little bit like Myles Jack in the sense that I saw him take a big leap forward as a full three-down linebacker this year. He’s sideline to sideline with speed. He’s as exciting a linebacker prospect as I’ve seen since Luke Kuechly as far as an inside, off-the-ball linebacker. That’s how excited I was for him.”

Jack, also an expected first-round pick, dropped out of UCLA and began preparing for the NFL last fall after suffering a season-ending knee injury. Both Jack and Smith will be at the Combine to meet with scouts and coaches as interested teams gather information and prepare to potentially make a complicated draft-day decision given their injury situations.

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7 Responses to “Mayock: A healthy Jaylon Smith may have been No. 1 pick”
  1. spiffybiff says: Feb 23, 2016 10:36 PM

    Umm no. That defense was suspect all season

  2. unitunite says: Feb 23, 2016 10:38 PM

    He’s gonna be a great value pick for a team that can afford the luxury of waiting.

  3. jerry944 says: Feb 23, 2016 10:39 PM

    Bosa is a beast

  4. amishninjas says: Feb 24, 2016 1:27 AM

    Maybe the Bears will take him. Would fill a big need.

  5. nesby2 says: Feb 24, 2016 6:11 AM

    With the 11th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft… The Chicago Bears select… Jaylon Smith LB Notre Dame!!!!

  6. spiffybiff says: Feb 24, 2016 10:46 AM

    The guy won’t be able to play likely until November, which means a few things….

    1. If you are playing for anything at that late in the season you would likely have to bench your starting linebacker to accommodate smith and keep his rookie from being a waste

    2. Any team picking in the top 15 needs help now and likely doesn’t have the luxury of waiting on a rookie all season coming back from a really bad injury.

    3. Add it all together and he likely doesn’t go top 20. Maybe a luxury pick for a team deep at linebacker and already a contender I.e. Carolina, New England

  7. irish106 says: Feb 24, 2016 12:43 PM

    He’s a rare talent steal of the draft kid is straight freak show ,

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