Jaylon Smith says no nerve damage to surgically repaired knee

INDIANAPOLIS -- Linebacker Jaylon Smith, considered one of the top players in the 2016 draft, said he hopes to play at some point during his rookie season after suffering what he said was a torn left ACL and MCL in Notre Dame's Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State.

"That's the goal, you know, as soon as possible," Smith said Friday from the NFL scouting combine. "I can't tell when I'll be back, but I'll be back 100 percent."

Smith declared for the draft after the injury in January and started walking again last week. He said he will return to Indianapolis for the injury recheck process in early April before the draft.

The 20-year-old Smith said he did not suffer nerve damage in the knee, adding that there is no soreness or pain there. He did say, though, that he didn't know when everything will heal.

"The nerve isn't stretched at all," Smith said.

Smith does have a loss-of-value insurance policy, but he declined to give details of what would have to happen for him to collect on it. He still views himself as the top player in the 2016 draft and he hopes to go in the top 10.

He had 113 tackles, nine tackles for loss and five pass breakups last season for the Irish.

Smith said he would stress in meetings with teams that he is a long-term investment for a franchise. At the combine, Smith said among the teams he met with were the Lions and the Packers, calling the Green Bay get-together "a great meeting."

He said it's been great watching former Georgia running back Todd Gurley come back from a significant knee injury in his final college season to play well as a rookie for the Rams. He called it "encouraging."

"It's a long-term decision, you know, whoever drafts me," Smith said. "I'm a guy who will be around for a while playing at an elite level and an impact player."