After tearing two ligaments in his knee during Notre Dame’s loss to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl earlier this year, Fighting Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith got some bad news at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Smith, who was projected to be a high first round pick before the injury, has issues with both his surgically repaired knee and in his ankle, but that’s not the worst news. The worst news is that he is dealing with nerve issues in that knee, which could spell doom for his NFL prospects.
According to the report by Rapoport, NFL teams believe that Smith will miss the 2016 season because of the injuries, but there is also concern that the injury’s impact could be even longer-term than that.
Obviously the news is devastating for Smith, who was injured in a bowl game that didn’t have any impact on how Notre Dame’s season would end, but the news is also tough to swallow for NFL teams that were looking at him as a potential option in the NFL Draft later this year.
The Chicago Bears were certainly going to be among those teams, as they are desperately looking for defensive playmakers for Vic Fangio’s 3-4 system. Smith would be a great fit at the outside linebacker spot, as he’s a talented pass rusher and has some of the best athleticism of anyone in the draft, but with his current health concerns, it’s hard to imagine that Chicago would spend the 11th overall pick on him.