Add Notre Dame ILB Jaylon Smith to the growing list of names of draft prospects that the San Francisco 49ers will host. According to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, Smith with have a private visit with the 49ers in Santa Clara soon.
Notre Dame pro day today. I'm told LB Jaylon Smith has a private visit planned with the #49ers in Santa Clara soon.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 31, 2016
If not for an ACL and LCL tear during the first quarter of Notre Dame's January 1 Fiesta Bowl loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes, Smith may have been in the discussion for the top linebacker available in this year's draft. That distinction now belongs to solely to UCLA's Myles Jack.
Smith's injury makes it unlikely that he would play for an NFL team in 2016 and more likely to land on and remain on injured reserve.
In recent years, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke has gambled by drafting injured players based on potential. That strategy has yet to pay off for San Francisco. His latest project was Georgia Tech WR DeAndre Smelter, who the team drafted in the fourth round in 2015. He was seen as a possible replacement for aging WR Anquan Boldin, who remains a free agent.
This year's medical re-checks for potential draft picks are expected to take place April 14 through 15. That will be when teams get an update on the recovery and rehabilitation of draft prospects like Smith.
Inside linebacker is certainly one of numerous needs for the rebuilding 49ers. NaVorro Bowman was able to return from a devastating injury and play at a high level during the 2015 season, but the team could use come help along side him. If Smith were that option, that help would not come until possibly the 2017 season.