The NFL conducted their annual medical re-check in Indianapolis on Friday, and it sounds like Jaylon Smith did not get particularly good news. The former Notre Dame linebacker suffered a knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl, and according to Ian Rapoport, he is expected to sit out the 2016 season. This was not a final report, but what Rapoport has heard thus far. It mostly would seem to confirm some earlier reports.
Teams are still reviewing info on #ND LB Jaylon Smith (knee) after rechecks. But I'm told his report wasn't much different from the Combine.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 15, 2016
#ND LB Jaylon Smith, who was a top 5 pick before the injury, is expected to sit out 2016. Many teams believe he'll be back to form in 2017.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 15, 2016
Smith's draft status will come down to the risk/reward that comes with such a supremely talented player dealing with such a significant knee injury. The San Francisco 49ers rolled the dice on Marcus Lattimore, and that did not pan out. Smith and Lattimore have different injury histories, but a devastating knee injury still adds significant risk, whatever the prior history.
The 49ers have a need at inside linebacker, and they have 12 draft picks. I don't see how anybody would use a day one or day two pick on Smith, but what about day three? The 49ers have four comp picks, one in each of the fourth and fifth rounds, and two in the sixth round. Each of the last three seasons, the 49ers have spent picks on players with ACL injuries. This includes DeAndre Smelter (2015), Brandon Thomas (2014), and Marcus Lattimore (2013) and Tank Carradine (2013).
Will the 49ers do it again in 2016, or will they look for players that do not carry the same risks? Myles Jack is recovering from a torn meniscus, and while that is an issue, it is nowhere near the level of torn ACL, MCL, and other such ligaments. But will Team ACL get another addition?