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2012 NFL Draft: Josh Chapman's Dedication a Double-Edged Sword

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 08:  Josh Chapman #99 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJanuary 19, 2012

Alabama nose tackle Josh Chapman's draft stock could go one of two ways right now.

After he reportedly played his last seven games with the Crimson Tide after sustaining a torn ACL and a torn meniscus in his left knee, Chapman said on Wednesday that he would miss the Senior Bowl and most of the NFL combine after undergoing knee surgery on Tuesday.

So, NFL scouts can either raise injury concerns or point out Chapman's dedication and heart while playing on an injury that generally wipes players out for the season.

Said Chapman of his injury, via the Birmingham News:

"Normally I can deal with pain pretty well, but after three days I needed an MRI. Dr. (Lyle) Cain said he's never seen a guy that can have a torn ACL and still stay that stable."

It's worth noting the Chapman didn't have the best season statistically with just 23 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and one sack. But it's also worth noting now that he did this on a torn ACL and was much more valuable than his stats suggested. He was one of the best defensive tackles in the country (ranked No. 10 at the position by NFLDraftScout.com) who helped bolster one of the great rush defenses in the last decade.

What's also impressive is what Chapman said regarding his injury, via CBSSports.com:

"I didn't really want to give up like that. I enjoyed playing. As long as it stayed right, I could play."

This should prove to be a quandary for scouts. On one hand, Chapman has injury concerns. On the other, very few players would be able to play through this injury or, more specifically, want to play through this injury.

If Chapman stays healthy in the NFL, he could be one of the biggest steals in the 2012 NFL draft. It may just be a gamble a few teams are willing to take.

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