Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, who missed the entire 2016 season due to a knee injury, will make his NFL debut Saturday versus the Indianapolis Colts, according to team owner and general manager Jerry Jones via Todd Archer of ESPN.
The Cowboys selected Smith in the second round of the 2016 draft out of Notre Dame. Before his injury, which occurred while playing in the Fiesta Bowl versus Ohio State, Smith was projected to be a high first-round pick.
In his last collegiate season, Smith was awarded the Dick Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker, as well being named a consensus All-American. A significant contributor in all three of his seasons with the Fighting Irish, Smith finished his career with 284 total tackles.
If healthy, the 22-year-old has a good chance to become a starter on a Dallas defence that is expected to take a step back this season after losing several starters in free agency.
The Cowboys will need to beef up where they can with star running back Ezekiel Elliott set to miss the first six games of the season pending the result of his appeal.