Heading into the Fiesta Bowl, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith was considered one of the best prospects in the 2016 NFL draft, and a potential first overall pick. But after suffering a severe knee injury in that game, Smith now admits he has no idea when he might be picked.
And yet Smith says he doesn’t regret playing in the Fiesta Bowl, and would do it all over again if given the chance.
“Even if I had a chance to go back, I would play in the bowl game again. You’re playing in the Fiesta Bowl, first time in my life, against a great team in Ohio State. I would never want to let my teammates down, and no regrets,” Smith said on NFL Network.
That’s a positive outlook, and Smith is an easy player to root for. But even if Smith has no regrets, his injury will raise further questions about why players should risk their bodies for free when an NFL payday is around the corner. Eventually, some draft prospect may decide to sit out a bowl game, or even sit out his entire junior season, simply to get himself ready for the NFL. And if he does, it would be hard to blame him.