Jake Davidow

Prospect Injuries

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Injury Analysis for 2015 Draft

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


A huge lever in determining the injury risk for a player is their anticipated workload. As the future is uncertain for most players about to be drafted, this analysis was produced with a hypothetical view of all things being equal and assumed they would all be given equal opportunity to start and touch the ball.

 

The majority of these players have not suffered severe injuries. That fact is baked into their relevance within the draft. You’re only a high pick if you have exceptional skill and do not have an injury history to match. What gets lost though is that the first year in the NFL is such a jump for most of these players that any weakness is exposed. Seemingly insignificant injuries the year prior in college actually have a huge impact the following year. Especially if players try to play through them and do not get the rehab that they need in an effort to make their case for a high selection in the draft.


For more coverage like this, check out SportsInjuryPredictor.com


Quarterbacks


If any of these quarterbacks are scramblers who like to pick up yards with their feet they are exposed to a higher level of risk. This analysis was done assuming they all played in the same style and had the same workload every game.


List of injury risk from largest to smallest

  1. Garrett Grayson

  2. Marcus Mariota

  3. Bryce Petty

  4. Sean Mannion

  5. Jameis Winston

  6. Brandon Bridge

  7. Taylor Heinicke

  8. Blake Sims

  9. Brett Hundley



Garrett Grayson, Colorado State


Injury History


Grayson has fractured his collarbone twice. Once in 2012 in a game against Air Force and the other in 2014 while moving his friends couch in the offseason. Both occurred to the left clavicle with the second one requiring surgery.


He also pulled his hamstring running a 40 yard dash in February and missed the Combine as a result.


Analysis


Clavicle injuries are a common injury suffered by quarterbacks. The fact that he had two to the same shoulder with the last one requiring surgery is definitely something to be noted and an injury that could reoccur.


Marcus Mariota, Oregon


Injury History


Mariota sprained his AC joint in his throwing shoulder in the final game of the season. While there was some question as to whether he would partake at the combine he was able to perform. He has had several workouts for specific teams too and so is clearly not bothered by the shoulder injury.


Analysis


The shoulder injury is clearly not a concern for anyone at this stage but is something to be mindful of as Mariota is most likely to end up as the starter for whichever team drafts him this coming season. If there is any functional weakness there it will be exposed with the more playing time he receives.


Bryce Petty, Baylor


Injury History


Petty suffered the same injury as Tony Romo and Cam Newton suffered last year when he fractured the transverse process in his back. It only kept him from one game and is something that players are usually able to play through. He also suffered a concussion last year.


Going back to high school (2008) he tore his MCL which did require surgery to repair.


Analysis


There is nothing here that screams red flag. The back issue should be fine for this year. Concussions become a problem the more often they occur but the one he had last year was the first that was documented of his career.


Sean Mannion, Oregon State


Injury History


Mannion had a procedure to clean up his meniscus in 2012. This is a fairly common injury for football players and Mannion only missed two games as a result of this.


Analysis


This is something to take note of as meniscus issues do tend to reoccur. However the length of absence being so short and the fact that there is nothing to suggest this happened again since then is a signal that this was most likely an isolated event.


Running Backs


(In order of risk)


  1. T.J. Yeldon

  2. Mike Davis

  3. Duke Johnson

  4. Todd Gurley

  5. Melvin Gordon

  6. David Cobb

  7. Jay Ajayi

  8. Ameer Abdullah


T.J. Yeldon, Alabama


Injury History


Yeldon suffered from ankle and hamstring injuries last year that hobbled him for most of the season. While he didn’t miss any games as a result of either of these injuries it’s worth noting because both of these injuries carry a high chance of recurrence the following season


Analysis


All players get hurt at some point in the season and need to have the ability to play hurt in order to make it in the NFL. The fact that he did not miss any games is testament to his toughness but statistically these injuries have a high chance of recurring.


Mike Davis, South Carolina


Injury History


Davis had a rib injury and hamstring injury last season. In 2013 he suffered an ankle injury that kept him out of a game.


Analysis


The hamstring injury is the one to watch. It took place in the offseason and led to Davis missing a substantial portion of summer training.


Duke Johnson, Miami


Injury History


Duke Johnson had a tough time in 2013 missing time with a concussion and then ultimately fracturing his ankle which ended his season and required surgery. He then went on to re-injure the same ankle in the last game of 2014 in which he had to be carted off the field.


Analysis


The injury concerns around Johnson are legitimate. The ankle injury is more than likely going to crop up this season


Todd Gurley, Georgia


Injury History


Gurley tore his ACL at the end of last year. He also sprained his ankle in 2013 and missed 3 games as a result


Analysis


The ACL is not the problem here. The chances of re-injury to that ACL is only 2% in professional athletes the fact that the injury occurred in November means that his rehab will only be complete round about August time. As a result he will miss all of the offseason work that will help condition him for the season. This exposes him to other conditioning related injuries such as hamstring pulls etc…


His injury risk will be heightened if he is drafted as the lead back for a team like Dallas. The higher the workload the more opportunity he has to get injured.


Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin


Injury History


Gordon suffered a severe tear in his groin in 2011.


Analysis


No further recurrence throughout the rest of his college career means that this injury is most likely behind me. From an injury perspective he is one of the “safer” immediate impact players in the draft this year


Jay Ajayi, Boise State


Injury History


Ajayi tore his ACL in 2011


Analysis

 

There is a lot of swirl around the state of the meniscus of Ajayi’s knee that was injured in 2011. The concern is that the cartilage has been damaged and his knee would require microfracture surgery to correct. The surgery is a roll of the dice and players struggle to come back from it (Reggie Bush and Marques Colston both made it back to form following the procedure).


From the reports that we have studied there is nothing to suggest his knee at risk. Tears in the meniscus can be played through without surgery immediately being required to clean it up. MJD, Arian Foster and Chris Johnson played out a full season with torn cartilage and were no worse for wear. For Ajayi’s knee to be so severely damaged one would expect there to be:


  1. At least one report throughout his college career mentioning a knee issue of some kind

  2. A reference to some form of off season arthroscopic surgery (siting’s of Ajayi on crutches that sort of thing)

  3. Missed games due to injury


On the surface this appears to be the 2015 version of the 2013 Lacy “fused-toe” rumor. Lacy has injury concerns but none that would suggest his career was at risk as a result of a procedure on his toe. From our view – Ajayi is one of the safer picks in the draft and if his stock continues to fall someone is going to get huge value at his reduced price

 

Wide Receivers


This list is more in tiers of risk than the others. Tier 1 (high risk) would be Jaelen and DeVante.


  1. Jaelen Strong (tier 1)

  2. DeVante Parker (tier 1)

  3. Devin Funchess (tier 2)

  4. Rashad Greene (tier 2)

  5. Amari Cooper (tier 2)



Jaelen Strong, Arizona State


Injury History


Fractured wrist and a concussion in 2014


Analysis


Played through the wrist injury in 2014 and claims he did not require surgery. A fracture in the wrist comes with a high degree of risk for Wide Receivers.


DeVante Parker, Louisville


Injury History


Missed one game due to a sprained shoulder in 2013. Fractured his foot at the start of the 2014 season and missed 7 games.


Analysis


The foot is the big concern. First year wide receiver players coming off a fracture in the foot usually struggle with injuries the first year or two back. Examples of wide receivers who have fractured their feet and were injured in a year or two that followed:


Julio Jones (hamstring, ankle then refractured the foot)

Demaryius Thomas (refractured the foot and then tore Achilles)

Hakeem Nicks (refractured the foot)

Michael Crabtree (tore Achilles)


Devin Funchess, Michigan


Injury History


Funchess suffered from turf toe in 2014 in which he missed one game but was hobbled throughout the season.


Analysis


Turf toe sounds pretty innocuous but its actually a really painful injury that affects the players ability to push off and explode. The fact that he played through it is good and bad. Good in that it showcased his determination and ability to tolerate pain. Bad in that he could have injured the ligaments even more than had he rested it.


Rashad Greene, FSU


Injury History


Pulled his Achilles in 2011 resulting in 4 missed games

Left a game with a concussion in 2014


Analysis


Greene has had no recurrence of his Achilles injury and should be fine going into 2015


Amari Cooper, Alabama


Injury History


Foot and toe sprains in 2013 limited him throughout the season


Analysis


He was clearly hobbled in 2013 when he was playing through the foot sprain. There is always increased risk associated with players who have been injured before (the lower leg injuries have a higher incidence of recurrence) however he was able to have a very productive 2014 showing that he was not affected by the injury at all.




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