News that Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker Jaylon Smith will not play this season because of a knee he shredded in the Fiesta Bowl at Notre Dame was not a surprise.
Not because he was expected to play, but rather because he was a second round pick of the Dallas Cowboys; if you are a football player who is selected in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys, you might want to think about retiring immediately.
Normally second round picks are supposed to pan out fairly well for your favorite team but this coveted draft slot has mostly been a giant vat of injured ish for Jerry Jones’ toy.
Smith was supposed to be a top five pick in the 2016 NFL Draft until he tore his knee. Jerry gambled (of course) and selected Smith with the 34th pick in the draft, even though it was widely thought he would not play this season due to the severity of the injury.
He’s not, which is sadly consistent with a fleet of this team’s second round picks.
It is incredible the Cowboys have done as well as they have at all considering how poorly their second rounders have performed. Normally, a second round player should be a two-contract player with the team; of the 16 second round picks made by the Cowboys this century, two have been two-contract players.
Look at this long list of distinguished duds from this century.
2016: Jaylon Smith, LB, 34th pick, Notre Dame. Has not played in a game because of a knee injury.
2015: Randy Gregory, DE, 60th pick, Nebraska. Thought to be a top 10 talent, he slid to the second round because of character concerns. Injuries limited him to 12 games and seven tackles as a rookie. He has not played this season because he can’t pass a drug test. On the upside, whatever he is on must be some really good stuff.
2014: DeMarcus Lawrence, DE, 34th pick, Boise State. Now in his third season with the team, Tank has been erratic and a tease. Injuries limited him to seven games as a rookie, but he came up with big plays in the team’s playoff win against the Detroit Lions.
Last season, he looked like a guy with double digit sack potential - he finished with eight in a lost season for the team.
This season, he missed the first four games because he flunked a drug test and upon his return he has not played well. He has one sack on a defense that was counting on him to pressure quarterbacks.
Perhaps he boosted his numbers in 2015 because he was playing opposite all around good guy Greg Hardy.
2013: Gavin Escobar, TE, 47th pick, San Diego State. Nice guy who has not developed into a target, or a blocker, behind Jason Witten. In his career, he has 29 receptions with eight touchdowns.
2012: No pick
2011: Bruce Carter, LB, 40th pick, North Carolina. The Cowboys selected him in the second round despite the fact he came to the team having suffered a serious knee injury in college. With the Cowboys, Carter developed into a decent player but never did quite reach the level his talent suggested.
In 49 games with the Cowboys, he had five sacks with three interceptions. He signed with Tampa in 2015 and is currently with the Jets.
2010: Sean Lee, LB, 55th pick, Penn State. A wonderful player when healthy; like so many of these second round picks, Lee had injuries in college, a problem that has followed him in his entire career with the Cowboys.
When he’s on the field, he’s one of the best linebackers in the game. This season, he has 130 tackles with one fumble recovery. Against the New York Giants on Sunday, according to his coaches, he set a franchise-record with 22 tackles.
The only problem with Lee has been injuries, which have forced him to miss two, one, nine, five and two games, in succession of the first five years of his NFL career.
This year (knock on wood), no injuries.
2009: No pick.
2008: Martellus Bennett, TE, 61st pick, Texas A&M. Along with Sean Lee, easily the best second round pick of the Cowboys this century. Marty B is a bit crazy, but he can block and is a freak athlete. He was never going to move around Jason Witten here, which drove him nuts.
In nine NFL seasons, Marty B has played in 132 games and caught 396 passes for 4,200 yards with 28 touchdowns. He could have been even better but this is a solid second round pick.
2007: No pick.
2006: Anthony Fasano, TE, 53rd pick, Notre Dame. This was a project of Bill Parcells who has enjoyed long NFL career, but could never get around Jason Witten. Fasano had a hard time learning the playbook with the Cowboys.
He spent two seasons with the Cowboys before moving on to Miami, then Kansas City and he is now in Tennessee.
2005: Kevin Burnett, LB, 40th pick, Tennessee. Another player who struggled with injuries with the Cowboys, and getting out of coach Bill Parcells’ mansion. He spent four seasons with the Cowboys and started four games.
He played five more NFL seasons with three other teams and retired in 2013.
2004: Jacob Rogers, OT, 52nd pick, USC Drafted by Parcells with the intention of rebuilding his offensive line was a massive bust. Rogers appeared in two games in 2004 and that was it.
2003: Al Johnson, C, 38th pick, Wisconsin. Although Johnson started in his first two seasons, he lost his job to Andre Gurode in 2005 and was gone the year following. Johnson played two additional NFL seasons.
2002: Andre Gurode, G, 37th pick, Colorado; Antonio Bryant, WR, 63rd pick, Pitt. Gurode eventually developed into a Pro Bowl center and was a reliable lineman for the Cowboys for nine seasons; he was a starter for eight years.
He played one more year in Baltimore and a final season in Oakland before retiring after 2013.
Bryant was a head case who once famously threw a jersey in Bill Parcells’ face during practice. He played three seasons with the Cowboys and caught 99 passes for 1,549 yards with eight touchdowns.
He played a total of seven NFL seasons with four teams.
2001: Quincy Carter, QB, 53rd pick, Georgia; Tony Dixon, S, 56th pick, Alabama. Arguably one of the worst decisions ever, Carter was drafted single-handedly by Jerry Jones and was made a starter when there was nothing to suggest he should have been either.
Carter was the Cowboys’ quarterback for three years, including 2003 where he led the team to a 10-6 finish and the NFC playoffs. He was in training camp pf 2004 because he failed a drug test. He played in seven games for the New York Jets in 2004 and then was out of the NFL.
Dixon played in four seasons with the Cowboys and started eight games.
2000: Dwayne Goodrich, DB, 49th pick, Tennessee. A sad story both on and off the field. He stock had dropped considerably after his senior year but the Cowboys were desperate for corners.
He battled injuries as a rookie, missed all of ‘01 because of a torn Achilles, and made just one start in 2002. In three years with the Cowboys that covered a total of 16 games, he had eight tackles.
Goodrich was out of football after ‘03 when he was arrested on vehicular manslaughter charges that eventually landed him in jail for several years.
God willing Jaylon Smith can distinguish himself apart from his fellow second rounders.