(Editor's Note: A week after the NFL Draft, the DallasCowboys.com staff is debating the team's decision to draft injured linebacker Jaylon Smith in the second round. For Rob Phillips' Point, click here.)
IRVING, Texas – There are two general managers in this league who could have made the selection of Jaylon Smith and never looked back: Jerry Jones and Bill Belichick.
When you have that kind of job security, those risks become natural. In talking with several player personnel men around the league post draft, it appeared that Jones was the only one willing to make that call when he did at that particular pick.
In the buildup to the draft, I never had a problem with Jaylon Smith the player, but where I did have a problem is the risk, especially with other healthy defensive players still on the board at 2-34. It was clear that they lost their player when Emmanuel Ogbah went off the board two selections ahead of them to Cleveland. That left players like Myles Jack and Noah Spence there.
The whispers I was hearing were that they didn't have a spot for Jack, not to mention problems with his medical condition. Spence made sense to me because I thought he was the best pass rusher in the draft, but I am sure there were questions about his past off-the-field issues that caused them to look the other way.
This left me with the thoughts of the Alabama trio of Reggie Ragland, Jarran Reed and A'Shawn Robinson. All three were available when the Cowboys went on the clock and could have easily filled spots, especially Ragland as a potential starter or backup to the wildly inconsistent Rolando McClain.
I understand that Dr. Dan Cooper, who performed the surgery, is one of the leading orthopedic doctors in the country, and whom better than him to make this call on Jaylon Smith. But there still is that unknown. This team needed defensive help now and not in 2017.
Sure, Jaylon Smith could turn out to be the steal of the draft. Or he could likely become a footnote to the list of second-round selections that have not lived up to expectations for this club. It's a gamble that very few can make and live to tell about. I guess only time will tell. [embeddedad0]