Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers and Alabama running back Mark Ingram have red flags thrown their way because of concerns regarding their respective knee injuries. How badly could this truly affect their draft status?
I've talked to several league sources on the topic, and there is something we all need to keep in mind. While Bowers and Ingram could each be taken off the draft boards of some teams, there will be plenty of teams that won't move them one spot off their list.
Every season there are players, most of whom we don't hear about, who carry a risk of arthritis in a joint from a high school or collegiate injury, a degenerative neck condition, or even some other medical condition. Some teams will stay away, others take the risk.
Some teams avoided Virginia running back Jason Snelling in 2007 because he is epileptic. Atlanta chose him in the seventh round, and he's as valuable a No. 2 tailback as there is in the NFL. Highly rated Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain disclosed during his pro day last year that he had Crohn's disease, an affliction that affects his digestive system. He was taken No. 8 overall.
Similarly, there were teams that passed on 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree in 2009 after he sustained a foot injury that was discovered at the scouting combine and prevented him from any pre-draft workouts. San Francisco didn't plan on drafting him, simply because it didn't think he'd be there. But he fell all the way to No. 10 overall, the 49ers picked him, and his foot healed just fine.
From what I've been told about Bowers and Ingram, if they slip in the draft, injury concerns could be a factor but not the sole factor.
For Bowers, who showed projections for arthritis in his surgically repaired right knee during a medical re-check last week, there also are questions about why he only stood out last season after coming to Clemson as one of the top recruits in the country. Some NFL personnel men still think he'll be picked no later than No. 12 to Minnesota.
In Ingram's case, there just isn't a huge demand for running backs, especially in the first round. Some teams also like Illinois' Mikel Leshoure better. Neither -- or both -- could go in the first round.