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Jaylon Smith drafted No. 34 overall by Dallas Cowboys in 2016 NFL Draft

| Friday, April 29, 2016

The dust has finally settled for former Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith, as the Fort Wayne, Indiana, native was selected with the 34th overall pick, the third in the second round, by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2016 NFL Draft on Friday night.

Leading up to the draft, there was much speculation as to when the Associated Press first-team All-American would be picked, due to a knee injury suffered during the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.

Many NFL Draft experts, including ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., believed Smith had top-10 talent, but teams were wary of the risk involved with picking him. It is unlikely Smith will play in the 2016 NFL season as he recovers from a torn ACL, MCL and nerve damage in his knee.

Former Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith celebrates with his teammates during Notre Dame's 38-3 victory over Texas on Sept. 4 at Notre Dame Stadium.Michael Yu | The Observer
Former Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith, 9, celebrates with his teammates during Notre Dame’s 38-3 victory over Texas on Sept. 4 at Notre Dame Stadium. Smith was drafted 34th overall by the Dallas Cowboys Friday night.

During his time at Notre Dame, Smith won the 2015 Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker. He is the third former Notre Dame player taken in the 2016 NFL Draft, behind former teammates Ronnie Stanley and Will Fuller. Stanley was taken sixth overall by the Baltimore Ravens and Fuller was selected 21st by the Houston Texans. In Dallas, Smith will join former Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin.

Smith is 54th linebacker from Notre Dame to be drafted and is the first since Prince Shembo in 2014.

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