Cowboys expect Jaylon Smith to take part in rookie minicamp

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The Cowboys will get first-round pass rusher Taco Charlton and the rest of their 2017 draft class on the field at a rookie minicamp in a couple of weeks, but they won’t be the only players getting their first taste of on-field work during the session.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Friday, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, that 2016 second-round pick Jaylon Smith will also participate. The linebacker did not play at all as a rookie because of a severe knee injury that also caused nerve damage and created doubt about his ability to play again, but this is the latest in a series of signs that he may be in the mix for Dallas this year.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones said last week that Smith is making “great improvements” and said this week that there’s hope Smith’s nerve will “really start to have full regeneration as we close in on the season.”

Smith’s play at Notre Dame led to top of the first round projections before his injury. It won’t be clear for some time if Smith is still that kind of player, but even a somewhat diminished version could be a boost to the Dallas defense.