Highly touted draft prospect Jaylon Smith's recent medical re–check reinforced the likelihood that the Notre Dame linebacker will sit out the entire 2016 NFL season, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Rapoport reports that several teams believe Smith should be able to return in 2017.
Smith, who won the Butkus Award in 2015, tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee during the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, creating nerve damage in his knee and ankle.
Previously, it was unclear whether Smith would definitely be ready to return for the 2017 season, though he was expected to miss the 2016 season.
Smith, 20, has said he believes he is the best player in the draft. The Butkus Award winner had six games with at least 10 tackles last season at Notre Dame.
Smith was a surefire top-10 pick before the injury, but SI.com's Chris Burke does not have him in the first round of his latest NFL mock draft.
- Jesse Kramer