The Cowboys balanced their win-now selection of running back Ezekiel Elliott in round one with a play-later option in second-round linebacker Jaylon Smith. But don’t tell Smith that he won’t be playing in 2016.
Asked by reporters after getting picked Friday night whether there’s a chance he’ll play this year, Smith said, “Absolutely. Never doubt God.”
Smith suffered a serious knee injury during his final game with Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Concerns regarding nerve damage caused him to fall, but he ended up being drafted earlier than expected — even earlier than linebacker Myles Jack.
“I get different sensations everyday with the nerve, but it’s just a timing thing,” Smith said. “I’m only three-and-a-half months out, so time will definitely tell, but the knee is fine. That was cleared at the medical recheck that the knee won’t have any issues. But it’s just a timing thing for the nerve. It’s too early in the process to tell. . . .
“There’s no recovery time because this is a process where we’re relying on God to do his work. We have to be patient and you know the nerve can come back tomorrow. It’s just a timing thing. Whenever it wants to come back, it’ll come back.”
The fact that the Cowboys made Smith such a high pick suggests that they’re hopeful the nerve will come back sooner than later. If it does, the Cowboys could have yet another great player as they continue to search for glory.