The Seattle Seahawks’ inside linebacker situation is not exactly the deepest. Bobby Wagner is back, Jordyn Brooks is recovering from an ACL tear but it’s unknown when he’ll return, Devin Bush is the new signing on the block, and then you have Jon Rhattigan, Vi Jones, I suppose Nick Bellore, and then training camp bodies like Cam Bright and Patrick O’Connell.
Former Seahawks wide receiver and current Seattle Sports 710 radio host Michael Bumpus is of the opinion that Seattle could use another depth piece at the position, and his suggestion is a familiar name from his playing days with the Dallas Cowboys.
“You don’t need him to come in and be a starter right now. You need him to bring that veteran presence, you need him to be a solid backup, you need him to contribute on special teams, and he’s (not going to cost much),” Bumpus said of Smith. “He’s at a position in his career where he’s bounced around to a few teams – the Giants, Dallas and the Green Bay Packers. You can bring him here and just like (Seahawks head coach) Pete Carroll likes to do, resurrect his career. You have Devin Bush to start and obviously Bobby Wagner is gonna start, but you need a solid backup. I like Nick Bellore, I like Rhattigan, but I want to see a true linebacker, a guy who’s been there, who’s done that. You’ve got to take a look at Jaylon Smith.”
Jaylon is one of the more notable case studies for college stars opting out of non-playoff Bowl games. Smith played in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State, tearing both his ACL and MCL (with nerve damage) in the opening quarter of what was ultimately his final college game. That obviously affected his draft stock and dropped him to the second round, where the Dallas Cowboys got him at No. 34 overall.
Smith made his NFL debut in 2017 and two seasons later he achieved Pro Bowl honors after racking up 142 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 9 passes defensed, an interception, and a pair of forced fumbles. Then all of a sudden it went south for him, starting with a difficult 2020 season. This is what Blogging The Boys said midways through that year:
307 yards. When you say it out loud, it’s almost unfathomable, but that is how many rushing yards this Cowboys defense gave up to the Browns on Sunday. Now, there are a lot of guilty parties involved, but one of the most disappointing things to watch these days is the play of Jaylon Smith.
Too many times Smith gets washed away as he struggles to shed blockers. More times than not, he just directly engages with the blocking, allowing himself zero shot at the actual ball carrier. He’s just easy to block. Smith’s movement is clumsy as if his ability to change direction is being hampered. He just looks like a player who doesn’t trust his knees.
Dallas let Smith go after failing to find a midseason trade partner in 2021, and he was last with the New York Giants after initially signing to their practice squad. There’s not really a lot to indicate that Smith is a starting caliber linebacker at this point, but Bumpus argues that he’d at least be an experienced backup who can play on special teams.
In a way, Devin Bush is another version of Jaylon Smith, except Bush’s injury occurred while in the pros and not in college. He’s very much a classic Pete Carroll “take a flyer on a player other teams don’t seem to believe in anymore” type of target, so it’s not inconceivable that Seattle takes a look at him. I suspect, however, that his knees just can’t hold up at an NFL level and his lowlights have me leaning towards Seattle not signing him at all. Or, if he does get signed, it’s hard to see how he makes the team.
...15 snaps into his GB career & I think I'm all set.— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) October 18, 2021
Jaylon Smith... I dunno man. Jittery, spastic movements - just goes no where and does nothing functional pic.twitter.com/LbtstSgxlH
The concept of adding another linebacker before preseason is definitely justifiable... I’m just not sure it’s Smith.