There are legitimate concerns about Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith’s knee, the the extent that a possible top-10 pick’s draft stock has taken a tumble.
But there’s apparently a floor for how low he’ll go, and it might be higher than some thought.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Smith’s expected to still be taken by the end of the third round, and one head coach told him Smith could even go in the late first or early second.
That could always be wishful thinking from a coach who wants a player who can contribute before next season, hoping an speculative pick on Smith pushes one of his targets into his lap.
But it could also be a simple reflection of Smith’s enormous talent, and some team’s willingness to give him a red-shirt season. The nerve damage to his knee is much more of a worry than the torn ligaments suffered in the Fiesta Bowl, though his doctor thinks it’s fair to believe Smith will make a full recovery.