Getting knocked out of the game is a nightmare scenario for any senior playing in his final game, and it happened to Texas quarterback Colt McCoy last night. Just four minutes into the game, McCoy ran the ball on a keeper, only to get stuffed. Before the play was over, Marcell Dareus of Alabama had slammed into McCoy's shoulder, causing a pinched nerve and knocking McCoy out of the game—the final one of McCoy's college career.
Not many NFL draft experts were projecting McCoy as a first round pick, but he is certain to go somewhere in the top half of the draft, probably as a second round pick. Not so anymore. His injury, which isn't believed to be serious, may change things. Here's a look at a few key questions.
1. What will McCoy need to prove to NFL scouting departments?
He already had to prove that his arm would be strong enough to throw the types of passes that work best at the NFL level, both in terms of bullet passes over the middle or deep balls. Now he'll have to prove that the pinched nerve won't affect his throwing motion, that the pain isn't bothering him, and that he's not afraid to take a hit.
2. Will he need surgery?
It's unclear at this point. If he doesn't, that should be good for his draft hopes.
3. What will this do to his draft status?
A lot depends on how well the shoulder responds to treatment. If it's simply a pinched nerve, as ESPN reported, McCoy might be able to attend the NFL Combine, where he can prove to NFL personnel that he is healthy and ready to play. If teams believe that he is healthy, then all McCoy has to do is prove that he has the ability to play in the NFL.
Perhaps the worst part about McCoy's injury—assuming that he recovers fully—is the fact that it denied him a chance to play the bulk of the minutes in college football's showcase game, a game in which many NFL types were likely watching. A good performance on the big stage could have boosted McCoy's stock.
4. Will there be concern about it being a recurring injury?
Yes. Even if treatment is successful and McCoy seems to be 100 percent, paranoid NFL types might be concerned about any investment they make in McCoy. McCoy could slip a spot or two because of it.
5. Who benefits from McCoy's injury?
It's hard to identify specific players who could move, simply because McCoy had been slotted from anywhere in the late first round to the early third round, which means a wide range of players could be affected.
The obvious answer is that if McCoy slips, then other middle-round prospects might benefit. The one big name that could benefit would be Tim Tebow. Like McCoy, Tebow has been projected to go anywhere from the first round to the third round. He may now be moving toward the higher end of that range, as teams that are choosing between the two may be concerned about McCoy's health.