Injured LBs Jaylon Smith, Myles Jack drafted early in Round 2

The two most talented linebackers in the 2016 NFL Draft were passed on in the first round due to very different knee injuries with very different complications.

But the second-day wait for both couldn’t have been much shorter.

The Dallas Cowboys made Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith the No. 34 overall pick of the draft, knowing the 2015 Butkus Award winner isn’t expected to play during his rookie season as he rehabilitates a knee injury that includes nerve damage. Two picks later, the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up to end UCLA linebacker Myles Jack’s wait with the No. 36 choice.

Two elite talents who were surefire first-round picks if healthy, Smith and Jack could prove to be big steals if the concern NFL teams had about their injuries turns out to be overblown.

Smith was injured in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State on a block by Buckeyes left tackle Taylor Decker. Damage to the knee was such that NFL clubs projected that Smith’s best-case scenario was a return to the field in 2017, and a rookie-year sit-out was expected to cause Smith to tumble much further in

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