Mel Kiper, ESPN draft expert has dropped his first mock draft of the season, and he has the New York Jets taking Jaylon Smith, the do it all linebacker from Notre Dame:
By now, everyone knows that Smith suffered a knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl, and there's at least the possibility he won't play football in 2016. That said, I'm not exaggerating on the kid's behalf when I say he was arguably the best player in this entire draft. This front office will assess the risk, but they also have showed they like to take the best player available, and Smith is an absolute monster if he's back -- a Pro Bowl-caliber talent even if he loses half a step. It's a fluid situation, but it's mock 1.0 and I want to reflect his talent level.
As a Notre Dame fan, I've seen a great deal of Smith and he is every bit as good as Mel outlines here. His injury is a massive concern, but many players have suffered injuries like this and come back at 100%.
We need some speed in the linebacker unit, and Jaylon has it in spades. He is explosive, balanced and instinctive. He's a good tackler and he's powerful too. He rushes the passer and he drops into coverage, In short, he is a true 3 down lineman who will rarely have to come off the field, he's an incredible athlete with a bright future.
Would you be happy if the Jets took a chance on Smith in the first round, even if we don't see him until the end of the 2016 season or even the 2017 season?