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What If with Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith

Jaylon Smith

There was a time when the Green Bay Packers would have, without a doubt, had no shot of drafting UCLA linebacker Myles Jack or Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith.

Both of those guys would very likely have been top-10 picks. That is, if it weren’t for major injuries.

Jack is a pure athlete. He had 75 tackles as a freshman and 88 as a sophomore. He also rushed for 10 touchdowns over those two seasons.

Yes, he played running back in addition to linebacker.

Then he tore his meniscus after playing in just three games of his junior season. Although Jack says his knee is fine, there have been reports that some teams are concerned after rechecking it.

Smokescreen?

Possibly, but that doesn’t mean Jack won’t slide.

Smith has found himself in an even worse scenario.

He tore his ACL and LCL in the Fiesta Bowl. After some poking and prodding by NFL teams, it is now expected that Smith won’t play at all in 2016.

Here is a guy who had 113 tackles as a junior and 112 as a sophomore. He won the Butkus Award and was a consensus All-American in 2015.

While we’re not sure what’s going to happen with Jack, we are pretty certain that Smith is going to slide a long way in the draft, probably out of the first round.

So then the question is, do the Green Bay Packers, who need linebacker help both inside and outside, take a flyer on one of these guys if they’re available?

The tradeoff is obvious.

You’re selecting a player who may not be able to play right away, but you’re getting a potentially elite talent for a lower-than-expected cost.

We’re sure the Packers have done their homework on these guys. If they end up taking one of them, then we have to believe they believe the player is medically sound and will fully recover.

Do we expect it to happen?

We don’t and you need look no further than Justin Harrell for the reason.

Although not as highly touted as Jack and Smith, Harrell was nonetheless a well-regarded prospect when the Packers drafted him in 2007 with the 16th pick. The Packers drafted Harrell knowing he had a torn biceps tendon. He was limited (and overweight) when he came in and then suffered one injury after another.

Harrell played in just 14 games in his four seasons with the Packers.

It’s an apples to oranges comparison, yes. We’re sure Jack and Smith are more motivated than Harrell was.

However, we can’t believe that situation left a good taste in Ted Thompson’s mouth. Thus, we’d bet he’s going to steer clear of anyone in the draft with an injury history.

That is, unless the value is just too great at a certain point in the draft.

Myles Jack? Probably gone before the Packers are on the clock.

Jaylon Smith? We’d take a flyer on him with a fourth-round pick.

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Joseph Bonham

Joseph is a fiction writer when he isn't doing this. In his spare time he likes to do manly things like drink beer and procreate.

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8 Comments

  1. Phatgzus April 22, 2016

    I’d bet a lot the Packers would not entertain drafting Smith until at least the 4th round.

    1. Big Gay Clay April 23, 2016

      Did Ted tell you that while you guys were in the shower?

  2. Big B April 22, 2016

    Painful flashback- I can still remember exactly where I was when we drafted Harrell. Stunned. He’s in the Pantheon of Packers First Round Busts: Campbell, Mandarich, Michels, Reynolds, and Carroll. It hurts to type that.

    Jack had a meniscus repair which is far less severe than Smith’s injury- unless he retears it he should be good to go. A good bet if his stock drops.

    Smith seems to have a peroneal nerve injury with weakness of ankle motion, which could take up to a year to recover, if at all.
    This, in addition to the ligament reconstruction/repair which usually takes a minimum of 9 months to recover. A longshot, looking to 2017 at best- agree that 4th rounder would be the most to risk.

  3. Howard April 22, 2016

    Smith would be without a doubt a great addition if healthy for 2017. Most would give up a second, third, or fourth round pick to move up to a top ten pick in the first round the following year. That is how some team will look at it who feels comfortable with the medical evaluation. The real question is can the Packer medical staff be trusted to make that evaluation.

  4. Kato April 22, 2016

    He has drop foot. Not exactly a mystery at this point. No medical staff would ever be able to give you an honest answer. While not the same injury, I had a very serious ankle injury in high school, ended up with nerve damage. Honestly, it still isn’t right, and that was nearly 10 years ago. I am pretty much resigned to the fact it will never be normal again. Every case is different from what I read, and it seems like the recommended recovery time for someone with his injury is two years. And sometimes it just never heals. Surgery is an option, but that doesn’t alway correct the issue either.

  5. PF4L April 22, 2016

    It’s the what if season…..after the draft it will be the woulda, coulda, shoulda season. Every year like clockwork.

  6. TyKo Steamboat April 23, 2016

    I showered with Ted Thompson after our GTL (Friday I Arms night…) Anyways, he wont take Jaylon Smith until the 3rd round
    He also said he believes Jack will go in the top 10

    Now, as far as Ragland goes, the closer the draft gets, the more likely he might be there at 27

    Big board of possibilities looks something like this:
    1.) Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
    2.) Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
    3.) Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio St.
    4.) Chris Jones, DT, Miss. St
    5.) Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
    6.) Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss

    Now, he also slipped me a paper note (old school) basically stating that there is “no fucking way” we draft Hunter Henry as he won’t be the “best player available” at 27. <3