Jaylon Smith will likely miss the entire 2016 season and would be a bad risk for the Vikings or any other team as a mid-round draft pick.
He was likely to be a top-10 pick in this year’s draft, then he destroyed his knee in a bowl game and now Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith’s future is up in the air.
Teams had already been hearing from medical people that Smith would likely be unable to play at all in 2016 as he recovers from an ACL and MCL tear including nerve damage, an injury much like the one that derailed Marcus Lattimore’s career. After a medical recheck the dire news was confirmed.
Each team of course has to depend upon its own medical people to make the right evaluation on Smith. Such evaluations are far from an exact science as we learned with Marcus Lattimore, who despite his injury was drafted by the 49ers in the fourth round in 2013 and never came close to getting back his college form.
The 49ers likely wish they hadn’t listened to the medical people who told them Lattimore had a good enough chance to return that it was worth risking a fourth.
Jaylon Smith’s top-10 talent will likely entice some team to take a similar chance on him in this year’s draft, but I hope that team is not the Vikings.
Yes the idea of adding a talent like Smith then letting him sit for a year as he recovers sounds great, because think of the potential payoff. But also think of the potential waste of a draft pick if Smith never gets back to being the player he was.
There are some out there talking about Smith as a possible second rounder even with the news that he likely won’t play a down in 2016, but that to me is nuts. If I had lots of draft picks to play with maybe I’d risk a fourth.
The Vikings are not in a position yet where they can be cavalier with draft picks. The Vikes still need to make every pick count and can’t afford to be taking chances in the middle rounds on broken players.
If the Vikings were to take a late-round flier on Smith after filling other needs with their higher picks, I could live with that. But I have a feeling Smith isn’t going to drop anywhere near that far. Some team will probably risk a third or a fourth on him and that’s fine with me, as long as that team is not Minnesota.