2012 NFL Draft: 5 Potential Dallas Cowboys Picks with Injury Concerns

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIFebruary 23, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 5 Potential Dallas Cowboys Picks with Injury Concerns

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    Come April, Jerry Jones will be making the draft picks for the future of the Dallas Cowboys. Many players have huge upsides. Some players who may look very attractive to the Cowboys come with drawbacks.

    Among the serious drawbacks are injuries. Naturally, since they've played at least a few years of football, these draft prospects have dealt with some injuries. A fact of life is that football players get hurt.

    However, significant injuries can put a player's draft stock in question. Adrian Peterson's stock was questioned in 2007 since he missed time in his senior season due to a broken collarbone. He still went on to be drafted high by the Minnesota Vikings and have, to this point, a successful pro career.

    Other prospects, such as Byron Leftwich and Chicago Bears offensive lineman Chris Williams, weren't as lucky as Peterson. Leftwich was drafted seventh overall despite a broken shin suffered while at Marshall, but failed to show durability in the NFL.

    Chris Williams was punched in the back during a postseason game in January 2008. The Bears still drafted him in the first round. Injuries have been a problem for Williams, who has missed 15 games in four pro years. Williams had emergency wrist surgery in November after injuring it against the Detroit Lions.

    Following are five possible Cowboys draft picks who suffered significant injuries while in college. Will these injuries be detractors to the Cowboys?

Peter Konz

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    Peter Konz would be a wonderful pick for the Cowboys to help the situation at center. At 6'5" and 315 pounds, Konz is big and physical. He gets up fast after the snap. He can help guards block and is athletic.

    One might wonder if the ankle injury he suffered in 2011 will cause questions about his athleticism. Konz missed three games due to the injury. Ankle injuries are rough for 315-pound guys like Konz. Big guys have greater liability to have issues with balance, which isn't good when playing mostly in a small area like offensive linemen do.

    One might wonder if Konz, who missed two games in both 2009 and 2010 due to injury, may have had such issues after the injury. He's said to have good balance and quickness for a lineman.

    Fortunately for Konz, he showed the attributes that people came to love in him in the Rose Bowl against Oregon in January. He had a great game, which impressed Tom Diehart of the Big Ten Network. 

    Diehart told the Appleton Post-Crescent, "He didn't ride it out and not play, which some players do. It speaks volumes to the fact that he worked hard to come back in the same season."

    Konz is still working hard to show that he's a solid first-round prospect in good condition. He's training 12 hours a day.

    Whether Konz shows his characteristic athleticism at the NFL Combine will be interesting to see.

    If all goes well for Konz, he could become an even more alluring prospect to the Cowboys.

Janoris Jenkins

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    Janoris Jenkins is a good prospect to fill holes for the Cowboys at cornerback. He's fast, has great ball skills and can jam receivers. Jenkins can hang with receivers in man coverage, too.

    Also, Jenkins showed toughness in 2010 when he played through a torn labrum suffered early in the season. Many would laud Jenkins for his courage in playing through the injury.

    However, Jenkins' injury worsened as the season wore on. He was forced to miss the Outback Bowl due to the injury, since he had to have surgery beforehand.

    That season, Jenkins had 44 tackles, six for loss and three interceptions. That's not too bad for a player who played through a serious injury.

    Seemingly, the labrum didn't bother Jenkins too much since he made the Division II All-America second team. He didn't miss time due to the injury.

    Still, teams will be examining it and inquiring about it at the NFL Combine this week as doctors check him out.

    Jenkins' injury history won't be as much of a concern as those belonging to other players on this list. His criminal background will raise more eyebrows.

Jared Crick

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    Jared Crick would be a good player to help the Cowboys pass rush. He's a fast, explosive pass rusher. He picked up 9.5 sacks in both 2009 and 2010.

    However, 2011 was a stumbling block for Crick. He only played five games in 2011 due to a torn pectoral muscle. Crick, whose ability to throw off blockers with his strong hands, might see his strength come into question due to the injury.

    Now, Crick seems to be doing better. He told the Lincoln Journal Star, "I've got a lot of flexibility back and I'm working on overall strength and speed, too."

    In early February, Crick told the Grand Island Independent that he felt confident he could run a 40-yard dash time between 4.8 and 4.9 seconds. That would be right within his pre-injury range.

    While speed is nice, he'll also have to show recovered strength. That's an unknown since there's no indication what he can do right now on the bench.

    If he succeeds at the combine, then he'd look well on his way. A healthy Crick might make a nice second-round pick for the Cowboys.

Cam Johnson

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    Cam Johnson would be a good speed rusher who could help the Cowboys pass rush. He's explosive off the snap, a good tackler and powerful. Also, Johnson can play both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses.

    However, Johnson has a significant injury history. He suffered an ankle injury during his freshman season and also suffered knee and pectoral injuries while at Virginia. In 2011, he missed two games. That he played 12 games in both 2009 and 2010 is a good sign.

    Still, Johnson could feel the impact in the draft since he didn't manage to avoid injury year after year. The Cowboys might have to think hard about his potential when weighing whether to draft him in the third round.

Marcus Forston

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    Marcus Forston is that big guy (6'3", 300 pounds) who would be great to plug in at defensive tackle for the Cowboys, allowing Jay Ratliff to move to the end.

    Forston has good functional strength and moves his feet well. He gets up well after the snap. The Cowboys would like his ability to defend the run.

    However, the Cowboys may be concerned about Forston's injury history. He went down for the season in the third game of 2011 with an ankle injury. In 2009, he was out for the season due to injury after playing three of the first four games.

    This is a red flag. Teams would have to think long and hard about Forston's durability since he missed most of two seasons due to injury. The Cowboys will likely see Forston when drafting in the third round, but may have to pass on him due to his injury history.