There may not be a better overall defensive prospect in this year's NFL Draft other than Notre Dame Fighting Irish LB Jaylon Smith. Along with UCLA's Myles Jack, Smith was seen as high as a Top 5 pick before it was discovered that his knee injury (suffered in this year's Fiesta Bowl) will cause him to miss the entire 2016 season after a medical recheck at the combine.
Smith's stock has obviously fallen, but he is so talented that he is still projected as a 2nd-3rd round pick. Let's assume nobody takes a chance on a player that will have to miss his entire rookie season until round 3. Should the Miami Dolphins take a chance on Smith?
My answer is.... Yes, but it depends. If the Dolphins can somehow trade back in the first round (even if it is into the 20's) and pick up another second or third round pick, I would use one of those picks on Smith. With today's technology and physical therapy, more and more players are coming back stronger following ACL/knee injuries in the league. Take for example Adrian Peterson and Todd Gurley, two guys who had similar injuries to Smith and were able to come back and have amazing following seasons. I understand Smith is a defensive player and therefore not necessarily the best comparison to those two guys, but the point is that Smith could rebound in 2017 to become the elite player he was at Notre Dame.
If the Dolphins CAN'T trade down, I would rather see them use their third round pick to fill an immediate need, such as guard or cornerback. Someone that could help the team win in 2016. That being said, arguably the biggest need for the Dolphins right now is at the linebacker position, where the team will rely on the inconsistent play of Jelani Jenkins, Koa Misi and recently signed Kiko Alonso. While all three of this players have potential, none of them have been able to play consistent football at a high level for this team. Smith, while he would have to wait a season, would instantly start in this linebacker group and provide a spark to what has been the team's worst unit.
The question becomes: will the Dolphins take a chance on a potential top 5 pick or choose to fill a need that could help them win tomorrow?
Then again, someone may take Smith as high as the second round, especially a team like the New England Patriots who have a knack for drafting for the future. SCOUT fantasy football expert Scott Gallimore considers Smith worthy of a late second-round pick, noting Smith's potential as a pass rusher, run stopper and pass coverage linebacker. Gallimore believes Smith will overcome his year absence to make whoever takes a chance on Smith happy.
Hopefully he drops just enough to hear his name called by the Miami Dolphins in late April.