2020 was a nightmare for Cowboys’ linebacker Jaylon Smith. The 26-year-old had by far his worst professional season so far. Smith’s PFF defensive grade of 54.2 was 16 factors decrease than his mark of 70.2 in 2019.
Smith was closely scrutinized for his play on the sector, and for good purpose. Time and time once more he gave the impression to be able to make performs however was merely simply unable to execute.
I don’t perceive what #Cowboys Jaylon Smith was doing late on this play. I assume he thought Beckham was going out of bounds or hemmed up? If he runs to the sideline, he in all probability will get the angle, no? Perhaps he was drained? pic.twitter.com/DKHPoB9qoX
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) October 4, 2020
To make issues worse, Smith’s effort on the sector was introduced into query with performs just like the one under exhibiting up on movie.
With a brand new quantity on his again and a brand new defensive scheme on the town, Smith is seeking to put 2020 within the rearview mirror and be a distinct participant this upcoming season. Nevertheless, some imagine the linebackers’ efficiency in 2020 was indicative of the participant he’s now. Bleacher Report appears to be of this perception, as they labeled Smith because the Cowboys’ “largest bust” of the 2021 season of their Predicting Each NFL Crew’s Largest Bust piece on Friday.
Right here’s what they needed to say concerning the polarizing linebacker.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith hasn’t been the identical participant since he signed a five-year, $64 million contract extension earlier than the beginning of the 2019 marketing campaign. His general stage of play has decreased in every of the final two seasons. A downward pattern in efficiency coupled with the acquisition of first-round linebacker Micah Parsons seems to sign change in Dallas.
Smith will probably transfer from center to weak-side linebacker, thus permitting Parsons to roam because the unit’s “Mike.” The transition might additional hamper Smith’s effectiveness since he already struggles to alter instructions, whereas fourth-round rookie linebacker Jabril Cox excels in protection. Smith’s position could possibly be additional diminished as an early-down choice who offers option to a pair of rookies in sub-packages. The Cowboys shouldn’t anticipate to get a lot of a return on Smith’s $9.8 million salary-cap cost.
All are truthful factors, and it’s onerous to be constructive about what Smith can do within the upcoming season after seeing what he’s placed on tape up to now two years.
2021 is an enormous 12 months for a lot of gamers on the Cowboys’ roster. It could be the largest for Jaylon Smith. We’ll see if the linebacker can show the doubters unsuitable and bounce again to his Professional-Bowl type in 2021.