On Friday night the Cowboys surprised everyone by going against the grain, eschewing "win now" and drafting Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith, one of the biggest winners on the draft's second day. Smith is a top-five talent, but he wasn't expected to be gone at the top of the second round. And Dallas yanked on him before Myles Jack was even off the board. 

Maybe they knew something and didn't want to miss on their only shot at grabbing Smith. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Smith was going to come off the board shortly, with the Patriots reportedly targeting the linebacker.

The pick of Smith wasn't bad -- the former All-American is one of the best talents in this entire draft. Pete Prisco gave it a C-, questioning whether the Cowboys could take the risk given the holes they have on their defense. Dallas is perpetually trying to win now, and everyone involved has discussed the short window for Tony Romo and crew.

If he's healthy he is a potential stud, a modern-day linebacker who can play all three downs. The problem is he's expected to miss all of 2016 after tearing his ACL and MCL against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Maybe that's not the case? Smith told the Dallas Morning News after he was drafted he "absolutely" thinks he can play in 2016.  

"Absolutely," Smith said. "Never doubt God."

Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones didn't rule out the possibilty either, telling reporters he believed it was possible:

This gets real interesting because Smith had his surgery performed by Cowboys doctors. They know better than anyone else exactly what Smith can do in his recovery, now just three months into the process. 

September is a long way away, and January is even further. The Cowboys are going to throw Ezekiel Elliott in the fire along with Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden to create a run-heavy offense a la 2014. If it's a sustainable formula and Romo/Dez Bryant stay healthy, the Cowboys will be in the playoff hunt later in the year, when Smith might become available.

The downside of the pick is there's so much unknown about his recovery. But if he truly becomes a "cornerstone" the way the Cowboys believe he can, he'll end up being a steal in the second round. 

Smith could 'absolutely' play for Dallas in 2016. (USATSI)