The 2013 NFL draft is full of talented and versatile defenders. But among the group of top available talent, there are a couple of prospects with injury concerns that could be a problem for them at the next level.
Some of these guys may very well be able to shake the surgeries and injuries they've recently had, but it's important to take note of them before draft day. No stone should go unturned when it comes to the success of a franchise.
And that's what's on the line when we talk about first-round picks in April. The success of a franchise more or less rides on the ability of general managers to make calculated and tough decisions.
So let's take a look at a couple of very highly touted defensive prospects who have some concerns attached to them as the process of the draft begins to heat up in the coming months.
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is being touted as a sure-fire first-round draft pick in the 2013 NFL draft. CBS Sports has him ranked No. 10 on the site’s top prospects list.
But there may be some issues teams should look at before they invest in the 6’3”, 295-pound junior defensive lineman.
Richardson played through a bad shoulder injury in 2011 and was forced to have offseason surgery early in 2012 to repair it. He bounced back to have a good junior season, but the concern is there, especially because he is on the lower end for preferred NFL defensive tackle bulk at 295 pounds.
Jarvis Jones, OLB/DE, Georgia
Everyone’s heard the story about Jarvis Jones’ spine concerns. In case you haven’t, here’s a brief overview.
Jones was diagnosed with a mild case of spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column, which prompted his transfer from USC to Georgia. USC’s doctors wouldn’t clear Jones to play, but he found a few who did and ended up playing for the Bulldogs.
ESPN injury analyst Stephania Bell, a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist, according to the site, broke down the contrasting opinions on Jones’ case:
It's not uncommon for doctors to have differing opinions, and players must be evaluated on an individual basis. But if the condition is severe, injury could result in permanent neurological damage.
Jones is certainly worth the price of admission, but the risk of losing him for good after taking one bad hit the wrong way will certainly deter some teams.
Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
Dion Jordan is a bit undersized for an NFL defensive end at 240 pounds, but CBS Sports expects him to be a first- or second-round pick in April’s draft.
Recently, he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder which caused him to miss the Senior Bowl. While the timing is poor, the injury was likely the same nagging one that caused him to miss Oregon’s Nov. 10 win over California.
NFL teams need their big players in big games, so Jordan should come with some concerns on draft day. If Jordan, who was a wide receiver when got to Oregon, doesn’t add more bulk to his frame he may have problems warding off injuries at the next level, too.