5 things to know about LB Jaylon Smith
The Giants announced on Monday that, less than one week after signing him to the practice squad and elevating him for Week 15, veteran linebacker Jaylon Smith has been signed to the team's active roster.
Here are five things to know about the 26-year-old linebacker.
1. Jaylon Smith is in his fifth season in the NFL after being drafted in the second round (34th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Smith spent the first four seasons with the Cowboys before being released a month into the 2021 season. He was then picked up by Green Bay, where he appeared in two games in just under one month with the team. The Giants signed him to the practice squad last week before signing him to the active roster on Monday.
2. Smith has played in 71 career games with 56 starts over the last five seasons. His career totals include 521 total tackles (321 solo), nine sacks, 20 tackles for loss, 15 quarterback hits, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, two interceptions, 20 passes defensed and one defensive touchdown. After sitting out the entire 2016 season due to a serious knee injury suffered during the Fiesta Bowl at the start of the year, Smith did not miss a single game over the next four seasons, including starting every game for Dallas from 2018-2020.
3. The linebacker had his best overall campaign during the 2019 season. Starting in all 16 games for the Cowboys, Smith amassed 142 total tackles (83 solo), 2.5 sacks, six tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception and nine passes defensed. His performance earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl.
4. Smith put together a very impressive resume while playing his collegiate ball at Notre Dame. He won a starting linebacker role as a true freshman and went on to start all 13 games. The following season, Smith was moved to an inside linebacker position where he would start all 13 games and would go on to be named the FBS Independent Co-Defensive Player of the Year, along with First-Team All-Independent and Second-Team All-American. He saved his best for his junior season, where he once again started all 13 games for the Fighting Irish. In addition to again being named First-Team All-Independent, Smith was also a Consensus All-American and awarded the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker.
5. Smith was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He attended Bishop Luers High School, where he lettered in football, basketball and track. During his senior year, Smith won the Butkus Award as the best high school linebacker in the country, while also being named Indiana's Mr. Football.
Smith is the younger brother of NFL running back Rod Smith, who was with the Giants during training camp of the 2019 season before suffering an injury in the final week of August which landed him on injured reserve. Rod wore No. 45 during his tenure with the Giants, which Jaylon now wears.
View some of the top photos from the career of veteran linebacker Jaylon Smith.
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