Stephen Jones talks up Jaylon Smith, other Cowboys rookies

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The Cowboys are the NFC’s No. 1 seed and open the playoffs Sunday, and rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott are among the team’s headliners.

The team’s second-round pick, linebacker Jaylon Smith, won’t make his NFL debut until next fall due to a knee injury he suffered in Jan. 2016. But Cowboys COO Stephen Jones told Albert Breer of MMQB.com that the team strongly believes Smith will make the team’s 2016 rookie class even better than it already is.

“I mean, this is a guy who may end up being — and you’re gonna shake your head when I say this — but he could end up being the best of all of [the rookies],” Jones said of Smith. “He is special both on and off the field.”

In addition to Elliott and Prescott, two other Cowboys rookies have become regular starters. Jones said he and assistant director of player personnel Will McClay have studied both their hits and misses from last year as they’ve ramped up preparations for the 2017 draft and admitted that they’ve asked themsleves, among other things, how they took defensive end Charles Tapper 34 picks before they took Prescott.

Their confidence is clearly high, and the Cowboys know they’re three wins from their 2016 draft class achieving immortality — even before we know whether Jones will be right about Smith.

“One of the best draft classes I still think about was the one with Bill [Parcells, in 2005], when we took DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, and [Jay] Ratliff, and [Kevin] Burnett, [Chris] Canty, and [Marion] Barber,” Jones said. “I mean, that was an all-timer. Now, does this draft have a chance to challenge all the great drafts we’ve had? Of course it does.

“But I think it’s too early to give a grade to this class. They’re off to an amazing start, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

25 responses to “Stephen Jones talks up Jaylon Smith, other Cowboys rookies

  1. Will McClay is the guy Jerry and Stephen lean on in the draft room. One more hit on the defensive side and this team is going to make the haters have nightmares for the next several years.

  2. Jaylon Smith was a Top 5 talent who fell to the second round with the likelihood that he wouldn’t play his rookie season. The nerve is regenerating in his leg and he’s running a 4.5-second 40-yard dash now and his change-of-direction sprinting has been positive. He’s on target for a healthy 2017 camp. Some call him the steal of the draft, but I think that’s Dak Prescott’s title. Never know, there could be two steals in the 2016 class.

  3. They hit on three picks. Zeke, Prescott and Anthony Brown. Sixth round db’s are lucky to make a roster, never mind actually seeing playing time. Brown has made a significant contribution this season and has been matched up with some of the best WR’s in the NFL. If he keeps playing like he has this year he will be a valuable playe on this team for years to come.

  4. The Cowboys have so many special players……

    Dak…..best QB in his class
    Zeke…..best RB in his class
    Jaylon Smith…..best LB in his class
    Travis Frederick…..best center in his class
    Tyron Smith…..best tackle in his class
    Dez…..best receiver in his class
    Zack Martin…..best guard in his class
    La’el Collins…..best guard in his class (undrafted)
    Byron Jones….best safety in his class
    Morris Claiborne……best DB in his class
    Dan Bailey…..best kicker in his class (undrafted)
    Randy Gregory….best pass rusher in his class
    Sean Lee, Jason Whitten, Tony Romo, Tyrone Crawford, Orlando Scandrick, etc!

  5. cosmicredneck81 says:
    Jan 13, 2017 8:18 PM

    You haters are getting real nervous aren’t ya
    ————————————————-
    Nope.

  6. YouCryin?PatsMustBeDoingTheirJob says:
    Jan 13, 2017 8:43 PM
    cosmicredneck81 says:
    Jan 13, 2017 8:18 PM

    You haters are getting real nervous aren’t ya
    ————————————————-
    Nope.

    ————————————–
    You will after Brady retires. I often wonder who all of these Pats fans cheered for before 2001.

  7. fuzzebear says:
    Jan 13, 2017 7:46 PM
    They hit on three picks. Starters Zeke, Prescott and Anthony Brown.
    …………………………………………………………………………..

    You left out starting rookie defensive tackle Maliek Collins.

  8. @sandman34rt,

    “Please lose and go away, Thanks”

    The Cowboys have more than earned the right to be in the postseason. So, no, they won’t be going anywhere simply because a hater can’t handle their deserved success.

    Take your own advice, and just go away.

  9. As much as I want Dallas to win BIG and make it to the Super Bowl I have some nagging doubts. The hardest contests they have faced this season are ahead of them.

    The Packers will play lights out. Can Dallas stop them – Maybe? Then they are likely to face the Falcons who have come on very strong. Matt Ryan can be deadly if he is allowed to sit back and pass without pressure. What does Dallas do? Assuming they get to the SB the Patriots are likely to be their opponents. That could be a very good game. Who would win? My instincts tell me it’s a toss-up. I think the Pats would be 3 to 7 point favorites in Vegas simply due to experience, and the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Bellichek.

  10. cosmicredneck81 says:
    Jan 13, 2017 8:18 PM

    You haters are getting real nervous aren’t ya

    This isn’t the 90’s. Your team has lost it’s “America’s team” luster and not as many people really hate you or even care.

    Congratulations on your great team. I know you worked really hard to contribute to this playoff push.

  11. “One of the best draft classes I still think about was the one with Bill [Parcells, in 2005], when we took DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, and [Jay] Ratliff, and [Kevin] Burnett, [Chris] Canty, and [Marion] Barber,” Jones said. “I mean, that was an all-timer.

    And what did you win with those guys?

  12. fuzzebear says:
    Jan 13, 2017 7:46 PM

    They hit on three picks. Zeke, Prescott and Anthony Brown.
    _________________________________

    You need to add the DT Malik Collins to that list.

  13. It’s funny taptap77

    U were right about all those people u listed then you thought in randy Gregory……he is not the best in that class because he has been suspended the whole time …..we don’t know what he could be cause he can’t get off the suspended list…..and I’m rooting for jaylen smith but u till he proves in game that his knee is ok then the jury is still out on him…..but the others yes you could argue that they were the best …..

    Cowboys fans won’t like this but Carson wentz will give dak a run for his money if the Eagles front office can improve the team around as good as the Cowboys team is around dak

  14. Jaylon Smith’s speed, instincts, and intelligence made him an incredibly great player at Notre Dame. He was an overall #1 draft prospect before his injury in the bowl game. I hope that he fully recovers from his knee injury and gets a chance to resume playing at the level he was prior to the injury. He and Sean Lee together would be a scary prospect for opposing offenses.

  15. Antonio Brown was the best Wr in 2010 draft not Dez Bryant.. #facts Dez is not as special as Brown.. So I’m guessing most of that list of special Cowboys is wrong..

  16. If this guy turns into what they hope this team will be crazy good. If they can hit in the draft as good on defense as they are on offense then holy smokes…

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