Dallas Cowboys: Jaylon Smith’s limited rookie minicamp not a concern

Aug 1, 2016; Irvine, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith (54) at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 1, 2016; Irvine, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith (54) at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith will be limited at rookie minicamp, but that shouldn’t concern anyone about his progression or health.

At this point, Dallas Cowboys fans don’t need an introduction as to the player linebacker Jaylon Smith was. The former Notre Dame linebacker was a top-five talent in the 2016 NFL Draft before a gruesome knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl struck. Thus, he dropped to the Cowboys early in the second round and they snatched him up, knowing he wouldn’t play in 2016.

The hope all along, though, is that his nerve would begin regenerating and firing once again in his knee. As a result, the hope has also been that he will be able to take the field for the 2017 season. With positive results recently in regards to the nerve, Smith’s rehab continues to progress and he seems on track to see the field in the upcoming campaign.

However, the worrisome bunch among Cowboys fans may have freaked out a bit on Monday. Per Kevin Patra of NFL.com, head coach Jason Garrett said on Monday that Smith will be limited at rookie minicamp this weekend (May 12-14). Elaborating, he stated that the will-be rookie will only participate in walkthroughs and meetings.

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Considering the hope for him to get on the field, that might seem disconcerting on the surface. If he’s supposed to play and his knee is getting better, shouldn’t he be able to participate at the minicamp with the much talked about brace on his leg? In short, no. But the most important part is that him not participating fully is just fine.

After over a year of rehab and hoping for progress in regards to the nerve damage, Smith is finally making headway and moving forward. However, the rehab process is still very much ongoing and not fully complete. That’s not to say it would necessarily be a grave risk for him to participate in rookie minicamp. But why would the Cowboys or Smith himself want the linebacker out there when he could keep getting his knee back to 100 percent? That would be asinine, frankly.

The Cowboys would be unwise to think that Smith as a player will wholly be what he was at Notre Dame. If that does happen, then getting him in the second round is an all-time draft steal. However, even 80-90 percent of the player he was coming out of college is still a game-changer for the Boys. Outside of Sean Lee, their linebacker corps has been lacking. A player with the versatility and ability of Smith, even a lesser version, makes them exponentially more effective as a unit.

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For him to be able to make that kind of impact, though, Smith needs to remain focused on his rehab and health. There’s nothing that happens at minicamp on the field that would make or break what he’ll be in the 2017 season. Thus, don’t be concerned with his limited participation. Instead, focus on the prospect of him getting back healthy and helping the Cowboys defense to get a much-needed facelift.