It took just one rep during a practice at the Senior Bowl back in January to change everything for Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin.
After impressing through the first day and a half of practices, Colvin went down with a knee injury, via Vic Ketchman of Packers.com.
“It was simple one-on-ones," Colvin said. "The receiver was running a dig route. I heard a pop."
Aaron Colvin's agent confirms a torn ACL.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 22, 2014
Just like that, everything changed.
Colvin was helping himself down in Mobile before the injury. He had begun to separate himself as arguably the best defensive back prospect at the Senior Bowl.
Now, Colvin has the long road back rehabbing that knee and showing teams that he's fully recovered.
Whichever team selects Colvin, most likely in the mid-to-late rounds now after the injury, is getting a player whose value far exceeds his likely draft spot.
If the injury had occurred two years before and Colvin had the time to recover and perform, like many do these days from ACL injuries, there wouldn't be any questions surrounding Colvin's chances to contribute in the NFL.
But timing is everything.
I hope OU CB Aaron Colvin keeps his head up. He's going to have a long NFL career. He was having a great week before his injury.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 23, 2014
The scouting report on Colvin shows a tough cornerback who should fit in well with today's need for physical players on the outside and in the secondary.
Here's the scoop on Colvin from Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com:
STRENGTHS: Physical corner with a tough-minded approach against the run and in coverage.
WEAKNESSES: Aggressive mentality can get him in trouble in coverage, drawing pass interference penalties with his hands-on approach. Susceptible to biting on play-fakes.
And here's the report from NFL.com:
Strengths: Looks the part -- good size, body length and athletic ability. Fine technician. Smart and instinctive -- can sort out combo routes. Matches up well with taller receivers and can carry them vertically downfield. Functional tackler. Hardworking, respected team leader who will hold teammates accountable. Experienced, three-year starter.
Weaknesses: Average bend, feet and twitch, which negates his transitional quickness and allows receivers to create separation out of breaks. Does not play fast. Lacks striking power. Gets hung up on blocks. Has a concussion history.
Colvin believes he'll be ready for training camp and the preseason as he continues to rehab his knee. If he can get back to full strength, combined with the likelihood that he'll drop in the draft, Colvin will be a steal for a team that takes a chance on him.
The San Francisco 49ers took chances on two injured players last year in running back Marcus Lattimore (fifth round) and defensive lineman Tank Carradine (second round).
I'm told Aaron Colvin, who tore ACL @ Senior Bowl, already running in pool, will be outside soon. Full range of motion. #NFLDraft— Chris Sprow (@SprowESPN) March 5, 2014
While it might not be the pre-draft path Colvin had envisioned before he took his trip down to the Senior Bowl, there's no denying the talent he displayed when he was healthy.
Colvin is the kind of player who will be contributing on a NFL team in three years and you'll say, "he was a very good player before the injury...and of course he got healthy!"
He's a player to keep an eye on as we get closer to the draft and the reports on his rehab progress continue to emerge.
It's unfortunate that Colvin won't be seen for the player he'll be when he's healthy, but for who he is right now.
That's not really something you can blame on teams, but whoever does give Colvin a chance will be getting great value on a calculated decision.
As all draft picks are gambles, Colvin looks to be a great choice for the "draft-day steal" title.