Michael Crabtree Has Fracture, Stock Slipping?

Mark FodorCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2009

Top-rated WR prospect Michael Crabtree has a stress fracture in his left ankle, according to ESPN.com. Interestingly, this was not the reason that he was hesitant to run at the NFL Combine this weekend. His right foot was the one that had been sore at the end of his college season and the one he was worried about.

Crabtree's fracture was revealed during the medical wringer that draft prospects endure in Indianapolis every year before the draft.

ESPN's John Clayton noted that this is not an extremely serious injury, and in fact is similar to the one that Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart had before last year's draft. Stewart ended up going 13th in 2008, and had a great season as the running mate to DeAngelo Williams for the Panthers.

Anyone who got to watch Michael Crabtree during the last two years at Texas Tech knows this guy is the real deal. Mock drafts consistently have him going in the top five, often to Seattle at the fourth spot, and always as the first wideout off the board. Does this revelation change his draft status?

He won't be able to run for teams before the April 25 NFL Draft, but should be ready for training camp. Of course, as a Bears fan, my first thought was a wildly unreasonable one—could Crabtree last 'til our selection now?

Honestly, I doubt it. Even if he slips out of the top five, there is no reason for an Andre Smith-type free fall here (Smith was listed as 'missing' from the Combine workouts today, and Baylor's own T Jason Smith has all but sealed the deal as the new top offensive lineman this year).

Crabtree was insanely productive in college. He has all the tools you want in a wide reciever, all the measurables and intangibles. This guy is going to be an NFL monster. If he makes it past Seattle at that fourth spot, I would expect the Bears (and a number of other teams) to make efforts to trade up and snag him. He would be a steal anywhere outside of those top few picks.

There's no way he slips past the Raiders, who pick seventh and need a wideout in the worst way. Trading up would certainly cost the Bears, but getting an elite receiver to pair with Devin Hester on the outside might just be worth it. Although I like Percy Harvin a lot, Crabtree is a real blue-chipper, a guy I thought Chicago had no hope of getting until today.