By Josh Clark
DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) – Cowboys assistant director of player personnel Will McClay says he sees a certain Cowboys star quarterback’s qualities in Jaylon Smith.
McClay made the comments to the GBag Nation on 105.3 The Fan at training camp on Thursday.
“When you see him you believe in him. He’s got some of the Dak (Prescott) factor that people believe in him because of who he is, and how he approaches his job … the things that he overcomes and his infectious spirit that he does it with,” McClay said. “He’s overcome that injury with that and he’s going to be a good player because of that no matter what his issues are.”
Just last week, 105.3 The Fan’s Mike Fisher confirmed the NFL.com story noting that Smith, the Cowboys’ promising linebacker hoping to debut in 2017 with a reconstructed knee, a dropfoot condition and an advanced ankle brace, is expected to experience full nerve regeneration in “six to nine months.’’
When asked when he believed he would play, McClay didn’t want to speculate.
“I don’t want to put any kind of timeline on that guy. He’s going to push himself to the level he needs to be at. I don’t put anything past that guy because to overcome what he’s overcome … if you have an injury … the way that he’s overcome it … the determination that he’s shown throughout this whole time … I’m not going to doubt anything about the kid.”
Smith participated in his first padded practice as an NFL player on Wednesday and McClay was encouraged by what he was able to show on the field.
“To come through that devastating injury … to be where he is … (I’m) very very impressed. He’s an extremely instinctive football player. As he continues to get better through this he’s going to be a great player … he’s going to be a really really good player at least.”
The Notre Dame product was taken with the 34th overall pick in 2016 and missed the entire 2016 season after he suffered a devastating knee injury in his final game in college.
More from McClay:
Jourdan Lewis returns: McClay confirmed to the GBag Nation that Lewis would return to practice today after he arrived in Oxnard on Wednesday night.
Taco Charlton’s camp so far: “He’s got the stuff. He’s gonna go in the shed with Marinelli and it’s gonna be beat down and tore down … and he’s gonna figure it out and he’s gonna be an impactful player for us. He’s gotta fit in and he’s gotta add something to it (pass rush).”
Demarcus Lawrence: “Demarcus has something to prove. Demarcus feels the pressure of having to be that guy and not in a bad way but a good way, he’s become a leader, and I think there’s going to be really good things to come for him.”