The lights came on as the day game turned dark between Florida and Florida State when the lights went out on Cornellius "Tank" Carradine's season.
Carradine had blossomed into a force, leading his team in sacks and tackles—at defensive end—to that point. It came crumbling down on him as he crumpled over in a heap, his draft stock seemingly ruined.
Out of the ashes his stock rose like a phoenix.
Improbably, Carradine has become a hot name in the draft community once more. Despite tearing his ACL on that fateful November evening just five months ago, the former Seminole has become a hot topic.
Seems like Cornellius "Tank" Carradine's stock has been peaking in the past day or so. Great burst/active hands as a pass rusher. #FSU— Ralph Mancini (@ReverendRalph) April 5, 2013
How's this for something different. If he checks out April 20th, maybe the #Raiders draft Tank Carradine at #3.— Christopher Hansen (@ChrisHansenNFL) April 9, 2013
How can this be? The man tore his ACL a scant five months ago. There was a real chance he would miss all of his rookie season at that point.
For starters, the rehab process is going well for Carradine.
The big defensive end hit his rehab running, so to speak. He has been working with Russ Paine—quite probably the most appropriate name for a physical therapist in history—otherwise known as the man who got Adrian Peterson back on the field in time for Week 1 last season.
Modern medicine is miraculous. Carradine has been working hard to get back to 100 percent before the draft—a likely unattainable goal, but an excellent show for his work ethic. If he can even run some drills it will be an accomplishment.
Carradine participated in FSU's pro day in mid-March. Still recovering from his injury, he only participated in measurements and the 225-pound bench press. He put up 32 reps.
He has another pro day coming up on April 20th, less than a week before the draft. If he can do any work involving his legs, the draft buzz will become deafening.
But recovering from a devastating injury isn't the only reason Carradine's draft stock has rebounded. More importantly, what did he look like before his injury?
RE: Tank Carradine ~ Liked almost everything I saw until his knee buckled. Struck by his Jedi-like use of hands to shed, relentless pursuit.— Jene Bramel (@JeneBramel) April 10, 2013
My ranking of Tank Carradine (DE-FSU) may surprise people, but once healthy I see a dominant pass rusher. He's top 5 for me.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 5, 2013
His tape says it all. Despite relative lack of experience at the FBS level—he was a JUCO transfer who only started his senior year at FSU—Carradine walked the walk last season. Film work reveals him to be one of the draft's best pass rushers.
Teams just have to get past that pesky season-ending injury. He's not letting it keep him down, and teams have taken note.