Cowboys DC: Jaylon Smith is 'just so hungry'
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith - who suffered a career-threatening knee injury in his final college game - made his preseason debut Saturday versus the Indianapolis Colts.

And while Smith only saw limited action and accrued just one tackle, his performance was enough to leave Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli gushing with excitement.

"Oh boy, good instincts, speed," Marinelli said Thursday to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram when asked about Smith. "Man that was a heckuva play he made on that tackle. You could see his speed, got natural instincts with leverage. And he's just so hungry."

Smith would've been a potential top-five pick in the 2016 draft, but after tearing both his ACL and LCL while suffering nerve damage in the January 2016 Fiesta Bowl, many questioned whether he'd ever play football again.

The Cowboys decided to gamble on Smith, selecting him in the second round with hopes that the nerve would regenerate. And though it's still early, it seems the gamble could pay off.

"He took another step," Marinelli added. "Another good step."

The next step will be seeing whether the linebacker's knee can hold up over the course of a full game, and ultimately, an entire season.

For now, Marinelli and the Cowboys seem thrilled with the progress.

Cowboys DC: Jaylon Smith is 'just so hungry'
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