The San Francisco 49ers have needs all along the linebacker position, and there has been some discussion that Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith could be on the team's radar. That potentially seemed to change, at least as a first round option, when Smith suffered a brutal knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl. He entered the draft anyway, and that could prove to be a wise decision.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller is reporting that Smith's injury was an ACL and LCL injury, with no nerve damage. The previous reports suggested it also was an MCL injury, but if it is not the MCL, that is certainly a plus. More importantly, Miller heard from NFL teams that said they think he could be ready to go when Week 1 arrives this fall.
Miller talked about Smith as a potential 4-3 outside linebacker option, but with his size, he could also fit inside. This offseason, the 49ers will need to figure out who exactly they want to pair with NaVorro Bowman. Michael Wilhoite handled the work last year before an injury sidelined him. Gerald Hodges replaced him the rest of the way. The previous year, Wilhoite had filled in for Bowman, during the latter's knee rehab. Will we see Wilhoite and/or Hodges in next to Bowman, or will the team look to upgrade in the draft?