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Cowboys Should Take Gamble on Notre Dame Linebacker

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    SOUTH BEND, IN - AUGUST 30: Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish moves to tackle Darik Dillard #32 of the Rice Owls at Notre Dame Stadium on August 30, 2014 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Rice 48-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jaylon Smith; Darik Dillard

    Sean Lee. Bruce Carter. Jaylon Smith?

    The Cowboys have a history of taking risks on injured linebackers. Later in this year’s draft, it makes sense to select the Notre Dame star.

    If healthy, Smith would be a legitimate consideration with the 4th overall pick. But he tore up his left knee in the Irish’s Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State on Jan. 1. A major nerve in his leg has yet to “awaken” from the trauma, leaving him unable to lift his foot. He may never be the same. He certainly won’t play in 2016.

    But he might be worth the chance. Considering the Cowboys’ recent late-round picks such as Ryan Russell, Will Smith and B.W. Webb, surely Smith makes sense.

    The gamble on Lee has obviously paid off. Carter’s did not, as he never truly flourished in Dallas and is now with his third team in three years. Smith’s surgeon was none other than Cowboys’ team doctor Dan Cooper, so they more knowledge on his injury than any other NFL team.

    At one point last fall some experts marked Smith as the best player in the draft. Now he’s a mystery. Will he make a full recovery and become Von Miller? Or in three years will he be selling insurance with a slight limp?

    If I’m Jerry Jones, I find a late-round pick to take Smith.

    A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.