Career Highlights: 2018 PFF Breakout player of the year
The Dallas Cowboys selected Jaylon Smith 34th overall in the 2016 draft. Smith was undoubtedly going to be taken top 5 in the draft before suffering a serious left knee injury in his final college game. Cowboys doctor Dan Cooper performed the surgery prior to the draft, so the Cowboys had enough information to warrant selecting Smith with the 34th overall pick.
Smith missed all of the 2016 season and returned to the field in 2017. Smith recorded 81 tackles and played in all 16 games, but he didn’t look as dominant as he did prior to the injury.
In 2018, Smith was the starting middle linebacker and recorded 121 tackles and four sacks while starting all 16 games for the NFC East champion Cowboys. From PFF, Smiths 27.8 win percentage as a pass rusher ranked first for off-ball linebackers and his 22% pressure rate in those snaps was tied for 8th. Between him and Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys have two of the top young linebacker duos in the NFL.
Smith signed a five-year, $64 million contract extension with the Cowboys in August and was named a team captain before the 2019 season started. As part of the extension, Jaylon also partnered with the Cowboys to sell his “Clear Eye View” sunglasses and hopes to remain a “Cowboy for life.”
The Cowboys would be very lucky if that turns out to be the case.
DSF Top 20 Current DFW Athletes
20. John Klingberg | 19. Skylar Diggins-Smith | 18. Alexander Radulov | 17. Tyron Smith | 16. Miro Heiskanen | 15. Travis Frederick | 14. Zack Martin | 13. Demarcus Lawrence | 12. Leighton Vander Esch | 11. Ben Bishop | 10. Jaylon Smith
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