Dennis Allen likes what he sees from Jaylon Smith, but a roster spot is no guarantee

Saints linebacker Jaylon Smith may have to prove he can contribute on special teams to keep his NFL career alive.

New Orleans coach Dennis Allen said Smith played well in his first preseason game in a Saints uniform, but that doesn’t mean Smith has earned a roster spot yet.

“I thought it was a good first exposure out there in a game-like situation,” Allen said, via USA Today. “We’ll get another chance this weekend to continue the evaluation process. But I like what I’ve seen over the last week or so from the player. He’s smart, he’s tough, highly instinctive, there’s a lot of things to like.”

So what does Smith have to do to earn a roster spot? It may come down to special teams?

“I think with him, part of the equation is going to be where does he factor in on special teams? It’s not something he’s done a lot of,” Allen said of Smith. “I think he’s going to embrace that challenge and hopefully he’ll perform well on teams.”

Smith was considered a Top 5 overall prospect in the 2016 NFL draft before he suffered a severe knee injury in his final game at Notre Dame. That injury dropped him down to the second round, and he’s had an up-and-down career, playing very well at times for the Cowboys but more recently bouncing around from the Packers to the Giants and now to the Saints, where he’s trying to prove he belongs in the NFL for another year.


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