Cowboys release LB Jaylon Smith: How much juice does the former Pro Bowler have left in the tank?

Jaylon Smith was launched by the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday, and everybody instantly questioned — can this dude nonetheless play? The previous second-round choose is simply 26 years outdated and was enjoying on the third season of the five-year, $63.75 million deal he signed with the Cowboys in 2019.

One thing should be up, proper? Groups do not simply reduce beginning linebackers 4 video games into the season. In equity to the distinctiveness of this example, the Cowboys have closely invested within the place currently. Not solely did they choose Micah Parsons in Spherical 1, however additionally they grabbed Jabril Cox in Spherical 4. 

After watching Smith’s movie, there’s excellent news and there is dangerous information. 

The Unhealthy Information

Let’s begin with the dangerous information. At any time when I am introduced with a excellent news, dangerous information proposition, I need the dangerous first. Get it out of the best way. And I will be blunt — Smith cannot actually run anymore. Effectively, what I imply by that’s, he is not wherever near the super-explosive defender he was at Notre Dame pre-injury. Or the straight-line burner he was early in his Cowboys profession post-rehab.

Watch the distinction in explosion between Smith and Leighton Vander Esch on this run in opposition to the Panthers. And, sure, I slowed this play to half pace. 

Due to that misplaced step, Smith could not get excessive of the lead blocker and was pushed primarily out of the play. Additionally, did you discover a slight hitch in his gait on the finish of the play? I did. 

When you’re pondering, “That is only one play!” I flip to Drake for my response: OK. Alright. That is positive. OK. 

Consider me, there are others. 

On this run play in opposition to Carolina, Smith really fired his gun in a rush. (Scouting time period!) However he was a half-step behind Panthers middle Matt Paradis climbing to the second stage, which meant Smith obtained walled off after which faraway from the play fully when the tight finish obtained to the second stage to safe the combo block. In 2018, Smith at the least beats the middle exterior. 

Smith really seemed decently explosive on that play, however sustaining pace can be an issue. 

This is the identical fullback from the primary play, former school tight finish Giovanni Ricci, working a shallow cross with Smith in protection Sunday. What do you see? 

Not brutal protection, however the pace is clearly sapped. It seems nothing just like the twitch and pace he showcased on this well-known hit on fourth down in opposition to Deshaun Watson again in 2018. 

Fortuitously for Smith, he is solely seen 10 targets in his protection space by 4 weeks. And he does perceive his assignments. Past what his athletic limitations cease him from doing, he is usually in the suitable place inside the scheme. Which leads me to…

The Good Information

Due to his labored actions on the sphere and years of expertise, Smith has turn out to be a really cerebral participant. He reads play designs quickly, which permits him to “play quicker” than his precise pace. Watch this splash play on a good finish display in opposition to Carolina. Smith sunk in protection, acknowledged the linemen getting out earlier than anybody else, and delivered the large hit. 

He is pondering quick, that is for positive. That is why he is nonetheless serviceable. 

Take a look at Smith direct a defensive sort out in entrance of him earlier than studying the flowing offensive line to get exterior on a sort out of Chargers working again Austin Ekeler. Stable play right here. 

Additionally, Smith hasn’t misplaced one ounce of power. He is full throttle from whistle to whistle. Coaches will — justifiably — love that. And hustle is effective. 

Watch how a lot of it went into this strain of Jalen Hurts in his personal finish zone in Week 3. Had Smith merely gone by the motions, Hurts might have been in a position to flip the nook.

Whereas clearly not a one-on-one victory for the blitzing linebacker, Smith helped make this play a optimistic one for the Dallas protection. He has two quarterback pressures on 10 pass-rushing snaps — that play being one in all them — and each have been of that selection, with the quarterback holding the ball and rolling out of the pocket with Smith in pursuit.

Smith is a brilliant participant who simply would not have the ace in gap — his pace — anymore. If Smith was going to achieve success within the NFL — and he was in his first two seasons — it was all the time going to be as a result of him asserting himself as a traditional “run and chase” linebacker. He wasn’t a block-defeating grasp in school, nor was he tremendous clean in protection. He might simply completely fly. 

He’d be an improve for a considerably smaller assortment of groups, however I do not count on him to have an abundance of suitors on the open market. | Cowboys launch LB Jaylon Smith: How a lot juice does the previous Professional Bowler have left within the tank?


PaulLeBlanc is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. PaulLeBlanc joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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