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NFL Draft Injury Concerns


NFL draft prospects aren't immune to injuries and their value to prospective NFL teams can be impacted based on their injury history and severity. Fantasy football fans that participate in dynasty leagues also need to pay attention to the health of players coming into the league and how this can affect their perceived value as well as their long term durability in the league. Three players with major injuries during the 2018-2019 season caught my eye and I wanted to delve into their injuries and prognosis as they look to make an impact in the NFL and for your fantasy teams.

Bryce Love, RB - Stanford 

In 2017, Bryce Love was a cheat code for the Stanford Cardinal. He rushed for 2,118 yards on 263 attempts (8.1 YPC) and had 19 TDs. In 2018 though, Love dealt with an undisclosed injury that kept him out Week 3 against UC Davis. Later on in the year, he was ineffective against Arizona State due to a left ankle sprain that sidelined him against Utah the week prior. Then, on December 1st against Cal, Love unfortunately tore his right ACL. He had it reconstructed on December 18th and the surgery was performed by renowned surgeon, Dr. James Andrews. Love did not participate in the NFL Combine outside of the bench press.

Fast forward four months later and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com and NFL Network is reporting that teams are concerned about the stiffness in Love’s knee. They are also concerned that he may not regain the explosiveness he put on display at Stanford. At this point in his recovery, it is certainly not normal to have stiffness or lack range of motion. Love could continue conservative care or elect to have another surgery to remove any scar tissue that has formed within the joint if it is present. No matter which path he chooses, I’m confident he will regain his motion and if he slips down draft boards because of this, he could be a great late-round steal for any NFL team.

Rodney Anderson, RB - Oklahoma

Unfortunately, Rodney Anderson was a talent that just couldn’t keep himself on the field at Oklahoma. In 2015, he fractured his fibula while covering a kickoff and had to undergo surgery to stabilize the joint. This was during the second game of the year so Anderson’s entire freshman year was lost. Anderson’s fortunes didn’t get any better in 2016 when he fractured his C5 vertebrae in August and missed the entire season. Anderson stayed healthy in 2017 and put together one heck of a year. He rushed 188 times for 1,161 yards (6.2 YPC) and had 13 TDs. He also caught 17 passes for 281 yards and 5 TDs. Notably, he rushed 26 times for 201 yards and 2 TDs in a loss to Georgia in the Rose Bowl.

Coming off a great year, Anderson tore his right ACL in OU’s second game of the year against UCLA. He only performed the bench press at the combine and did not perform drills during Oklahoma’s pro day. At their pro day, Anderson told reporters he would like to be out on the field “late June, early July.” In November, it was reported that Anderson is rehabbing at Champions Sports Medicine in Birmingham, AL with Dr. Kevin Wilk, PT, DPT who rehabbed Adrian Peterson and Drew Brees. Considering this and Anderson’s responses to reporters questions at his pro day, I expect him to be ready for training camp in some capacity. He showed he is an electric talent when healthy but when an athlete tears an ACL, he or she is more likely to re-tear when compared to non-injured individuals.

Marquise Brown, WR - Oklahoma

Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, the cousin of Antonio Brown, suffered a Lisfranc injury in the Big 12 Championship against Texas on December 1st. A Lisfranc injury involves a fracture of the bones of the midfoot and can include ligament rupture if significant enough. He was able to gut it out and play against Alabama in the Orange Bowl but recorded zero catches. Shortly after the Alabama game, on January 8th, Brown underwent surgery to stabilize his midfoot and repair any ligament damage. On March 28th, Brown came out of his walking boot and was cleared for running. On April 15th, Brown posted a video of him pushing a sled while stressing his arches.

This is a great sign to see that he’s confident in his surgically repaired left foot. Brown is a huge playmaker and is drawing comparisons to Desean Jackson. As of late, it’s been rumored that Brown could be the first WR off the board on Thursday. Brown has the speed and big-play ability to be a real weapon in the NFL and I have no concerns about this Lisfranc injury moving forward.

 

Aaron Burger, SPT