Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: LB Jaylon Smith’s arrow is going up

The Cowboys are encouraged by Jaylon Smith’s progress.
The Cowboys are encouraged by Jaylon Smith’s progress. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Jerry Jones doesn’t expect the Dallas Cowboys to take any “red-shirt” players in the upcoming draft, but he’s optimistic about one of those players from last year’s draft.

Jaylon Smith, a top-10 talent who slid to the second round after a major knee injury, continues to generate good vibes around The Star in his recovery.

Jones has always been optimistic about Smith’s ability to contribute to the team, and said the linebacker has taken significant strides this offseason. Smith is still working out in a brace on his left foot, but is able to do more and more things such as lift his toes.

“His doctors are very encouraged,” Jones said. “They are very excited about his feelings, about his feelings in his foot area.”

Jones said Smith’s drop foot condition remains an issue, but “not as much as it was by a significant degree three weeks ago. … I’m just telling you what I do see, his arrow is up.”

Smith tore his the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee during Notre Dame’s bowl game Jan. 1, 2016. Damage to the peroneal nerve was more problematic, but the Cowboys trusted Dr. Dan Cooper, their team physician who performed the surgery on Smith.

Cooper gave a 9-15-month timeline for the nerve to fully recover.

It remains to be seen whether Smith would be able to play and be effective in the ankle-foot orthosis (AFO). It’s believed that no player at his position has ever played with an AFO.

But, as Jones said, “Don’t make it a given that he’s going to wear the brace.”

Jones went on to say that Smith should be full-go when the Cowboys open training camp in July.