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This year's Quad-City Mallards had you on the edge or your seats until the very end.
In the past few days there have been some recent developments that may have an effect on where some players get drafted. Thursday, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster admitted that he tested positive for a diluted sample at the Combine. What the diluted sample means is that the player could have been trying to make sure that he didn’t test positive. In the NFL, a diluted sample is equivalent to having a full blown positive test.
What does this mean? Once Foster signs a contract with a team, he will automatically be in the substance abuse program. This means that he will be tested up to 10 times per month for the next few years. If he tests positive again, he could face a suspension.
That fact alone could have a huge effect on where Foster gets drafted. No team wants to waste a high pick on a player who already has a strike against him. In the next week. Teams will be doing more research on Foster to make sure they know everything they can about him off the field. After having a problem at the hospital while he was at the Combine and being sent home because of it, this was the last thing Foster needed.
A few days ago he was looked at as a possible top-10 selection. I doubt that now happens and it wouldn’t shock me if he slides right out of the first round. There just have been too many red flags associated with this player in the last few months.
Another story that could have an impact on the top 10 of the draft is it has been reported that LSU running back Leonard Fournette may need ankle surgery. He has “loose” ankles which means he is prone to ankle sprains because of that looseness. During the 2016 college season, Fournette missed significant time with ankle issues, now that the reason why is known, it may or may not have an effect on where he gets drafted.
Fournette could easily have a procedure done to fix the problem, but the rehab time could cause him to miss training camp and maybe the start of the regular season. If the problem isn’t fixed, he could end up missing time during the 2017 season just like he did last year.
The medical staffs of the teams interested in Fournette will be relied upon to give accurate information. The opinions of those medical staffs can and will have an effect on his draft status. While the first club that has an interest may say they will draft him regardless and take a chance, we really won’t know for sure until next Thursday night.
My belief is that it won’t harm Fournette that much. I would bet he will still go in the top half of the first round, but he may not be the first running back selected.
The Bears' former director of college scouting, Greg Gabriel has over 30 years of experience in NFL scouting. You can follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe
Going into the Combine, it looked as of the corner class in this year’s draft would be the strongest in years. At one time it looked as if seven or eight corners could possibly be drafted in the first round. Since then there have been some injuries and other concerns that will drop some players, but I still believe that as many as six corners could go in the opening round.
Before the Combine, Florida corner Teez Tabor looked as if he would be a lock first-rounder. Then he ran the 40 and the perception of his ability changed. Looking at tape, it was thought that Tabor would run 4.50 or maybe even a little faster because he has such great quickness and suddenness. Then he ran a pedestrian 4.65. The original thought was that maybe he just had a bad day and he would run much better at the Florida Pro Day. That didn’t happen, as he ran much slower. Many scouts had him in the 4.74 range.
At that speed, he is now a tough sell to take in a premium round. Many of the press-coverage teams won’t be interested at all while some predominately zone teams may take a chance in the third round. I’d be shocked if he went any higher than the third. Corner is a stopwatch-driven position and what a player times has a lot to do with where he gets drafted.
Washington’s Sidney Jones looked like a lock top-three corner until his last drill at the Washington Pro Day. During that drill, he had the misfortune of tearing his Achilles tendon and now his draft status is up in the air.
After surgery, Jones swore that he would be ready to go by training camp. While athletes always give a positive prognosis, history tells us something different. An Achilles tear can be very difficult to come back from. Yes, many do, but many others don’t. No one is certain that Jones will come back to the same form he showed before the injury.
During meetings leading up to the draft, clubs will rely on their medical staff to give them the answers. It goes without saying that all 32 clubs will not have the same opinion and where Jones gets drafted is a bit of a wild card.
UCLA’s Fabian Moreau was a steady riser prior to his Pro Day. His tape was outstanding and then he had one of the better corner workouts at Indy. He ran 4.35 40, had a 38-inch vertical jump and an outstanding 11’4” standing long jump. He was a player that was worthy of being drafted in the 20-to-30 range of the first round.
At his Pro Day, Moreau suffered a torn pectoral muscle and had surgery shortly after. While that injury is not difficult to come back from, he will still miss time. Recovery time can be in the 5-6-month range depending on the player. Still, that means he will miss all of the offseason program and OTAs. It is also probable that he will miss at least the first few weeks of training camp and perhaps the start of the regular season.
Because of that lost time, he will most likely not get drafted in the first round. If the medical people are satisfied with his surgery recovery to date, he could still get selected in the second round.
While these three instances have hurt the top part of the draft at that position, it is still as deep a positon as there is in the draft. What changes is the order the players come off the board. There could be as many as six corners drafted in the opening round. This players are Marshon Lattimore from Ohio State, Marlon Humphrey from Alabama, Quincy Wilson from Florida, Gareon Conley from Ohio State, Kevin King from Washington and perhaps Adoree' Jackson from USC.
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