Marcus Lattimore's 2013 NFL draft stock won't drastically change after his pro day performance, and the reason is simply because of his overall durability concerns.
First, Lattimore was lost for the 2011 season after severely injuring his left knee. Upon returning for the 2012 season, the running back was injured yet again in late October versus the Tennessee Volunteers, when he suffered "a gruesome knee injury" to his right knee.
Head coach Steve Spurrier was disheartened, but he remained hopeful for Lattimore's future:
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said running back Marcus Lattimore had his right knee dislocated against Tennessee and the injury is something he can come back from to play football again.
Lattimore has since been on a difficult journey to get back to the gridiron, and despite participating in South Carolina's pro day, his health is still a concern.
Had Lattimore been able to sustain some level of consistent health, he would be the draft's top running back. But regardless of a prospect's overall talent, field impact doesn't happen when sidelined.
That said, with his 5'11", 221-pound frame, he is capable of dominating pro football. The short-area quickness, power and explosive acceleration was quite evident when healthy for South Carolina. After all, the guy tallied 1,609 total yards and scored 19 times as a freshman in 2010.
A pro day workout will only display a minute glimpse, though, because the lens of truth will get unveiled when the pads go on in the fall. On the bright side, there is optimism in the air.
Pete Iacobelli of the Associated Press (via the Athens Banner-Herald) notes that Lattimore has progressed:
Lattimore told The Associated Press on Tuesday he’s still about a month away from getting the green light for full-out sprints, yet may catch a few passes and lift weights for NFL personnel attending the session on March 27.
“I feel like I can do just about anything as I could before,” Lattimore said.
If there's anything Lattimore has displayed, it's a tenacious drive to get back on the gridiron.
We saw this early on in 2012, as he accounted for 762 total yards and 10 scores before facing Tennessee in late October. As for his NFL potential, expected Lattimore as a late Round 3/early Round 4 pick at the earliest.
He'll always be a risk because of durability flags, but the raw and natural talent is appealing. Therefore, anticipate a limited developmental role as a rookie in 2013.
This is a good thing for Lattimore, as he will then see a greater opportunity to contribute in 2014 and 2015.